Maharashtra IAS officer Dr Pooja Khedkar accused of using fake certificates for selection

Dr. Pooja Khedkar allegedly used a local private hospital's fake disability verification to join as an IAS officer in Pune.
Pooja Khedkar with Pune Collector Suhas Diwase
Pooja Khedkar with Pune Collector Suhas Diwase Instagram/ dr_pujamdk_ias

MUMBAI: Dr Pooja Khedkar, a 2022 batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, has landed in major controversy over the alleged submission of fake disability and Other Backward Class (OBC) certificates to secure her position in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

According to documents submitted to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Dr. Khedkar appeared for the UPSC exam under the OBC and visually impaired categories. She also submitted a mental illness certificate to the UPSC to obtain her IAS posting.

It was alleged that after her selection, Dr. Khedkar was called by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi for verification of her disability certificate. However, she declined to attend the medical test at AIIMS, citing a COVID-19 infection in April 2022.

Despite being called for the test five more times, she continued to refuse, citing various reasons. Later, she allegedly submitted a fake disability verification report from a local private hospital and joined as a probationary officer in Pune. The UPSC challenged her submitted certificate in CAT, but she mysteriously received her joining order, allegedly using political influence.

After joining as a probationary officer, Dr. Khedkar reportedly made several demands, including a VIP number plate for an Audi car, allegedly provided by a contractor. According to service rules, officers are not permitted to use private contractor vehicles for government work, but she reportedly used her influence to bypass this regulation. Furthermore, she placed a red beacon on the Audi to emphasize her status as an IAS officer.

Sources claim that Dr. Khedkar even took over the Pune collector's private chamber, insisting it belonged to her as an IAS officer. She also demanded a peon and other staffers. This behaviour led to a complaint lodged against her by the state chief secretary. The government then transferred her from Pune to Wasim in Vidarbha. As per the rules, she should not have been posted in her home district of Pune in the first place, but she allegedly used her political connections to secure that posting.

Interestingly, Dr. Khedkar appeared under the OBC category, where the creamy layer certificate limitation is an annual parental income of Rs 8 lakh. However, her father, Dilip Khedkar, who retired as a senior Maharashtra government officer, showed a conservative estimated wealth of Rs 40 crore and an annual income of Rs 49 lakh. In reality, his total asset value is estimated to be over Rs 100 crore.

Mr Khedkar also contested the recent Lok Sabha election as a candidate of Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, receiving over 15,000 votes. Both father and daughter were unavailable for comment.

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