A former BJP leader, as well as a Karnataka Congress leader, has been arrested in connection with the alleged scandal in the state’s police sub-inspector recruitment exam. In the aftermath of the scam, the examination held in October 2021 was declared void today.
The two politicians from mutually rival parties, who are allegedly involved in the scam, hail from District Kalaburagi. Karnataka observers say political rivalry does not come in the way of the flourishing collaboration to facilitate cheating in the exams.
Of the two arrested politicians, Divya Hagargi is a self-professed Hindutva activist who was once the women’s unit president of the BJP in her district. Locals say she knows the art of staying in news, which earned her a place both in the Karnataka State Nursing Council and Kalaburagi district’s DISHA Committee (or District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee — to oversee schemes, set up by the union government.
The woman leader’s husband Rajesh Hagargi runs an educational institution named Jnana Jyothi English Medium School under the Jnana Jyothi Institution.
The extent of her network with influential people in Kalaburagi can be seen in the fact that when officials recommended against holding the PSI exam at her school as it lacked basic facilities, Divya Hagargi reportedly procured a letter from a BJP MP from northern Karnataka to overrule the concern.
Police arrested Divya Hagargi today from the house of Suresh Katagaon who runs a sand business in Maharashtra and Karnataka. She has been sent to 11 days of police custody.
The scam also involves Mahanthesh Patil, ex-Afzalpur Congress block president, whom the police arrested too. While Patil was the political face in the family, his brother Rudragouda Patil, a co-accused, is considered more influential.
Rudragouda Patil operates an academy that trains aspirants for competitive examinations, where he is alleged to have sourced ‘customers’ or aspirants for the scam. The family runs a paramedical college and a primary school as well.
Mahanthesh Patil has been in Karnataka Congress for years, but his electoral attempts to win taluk panchayat seats have been unsuccessful on all three occasions. The Patils poured in a lot of money to fund the campaign, reportedly selling 9 ac of agricultural land.
In 2015, police arrested Rudragouda for allegedly misappropriating around Rs 5 crore in MNREGA rural roads and other infrastructure works.
The Patil brothers’ have been referred to in the region as the go-to people for getting government work done.
One of the candidates Rudragouda Patil helped in clearing the PSI exam was Afzalpur INC MLA MY Patil’s gunman Hayyali Desai.
Mahanthesh Patil had been spotted recently hobnobbing with the AAP, which hopes to make an entry in Karnataka with the assembly election of 2023. He also organised a mass wedding recently.