Who is Puja Khedkar? All about transferred IAS trainee now under scrutiny for alleged fake documents

Pooja Khedkar sparked controversy when she used her private Audi car with a red-blue beacon light and VIP number plate.

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Pune IAS trainee officer Pooja Khedkar has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, as she is accused of not only misusing her powers as a civil servant, but also for allegedly submitting fake certificates to clear the UPSC exams under special provisions. She allegedly took the exam claiming both Other Backward Classes (OBC) non-creamy layer and a visual impairment. She also reportedly submitted a mental illness certificate and failed to appear in medical check-ups for the UPSC exam citing Covid-19 restrictions. Earlier, Khedkar had been transferred from Pune to Washim district for misusing her powers.  She is now under scrutiny regarding her methods to acquire her IAS position.

Who is Pooja Khedkar?

Pooja Khedkar is a 2022-batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre. According to reports, she secured an All India Rank (AIR) of 841 in the UPSC exam. Her father, Dilip Khedkar, is also a former IAS officer and a recent Lok Sabha contestant from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar. Interestingly, his election affidavit also does not make any statements purported by Pooja’s certificates.

Recently, Pooja Khedkar sparked controversy when she used her private Audi car with a red-blue beacon light and VIP number plate. She also demanded facilities that are not available to probationary officers in the IAS. According to a report submitted by Pune collector Suhas Diwse to the General Administration Department, Khedkar repeatedly demanded that she be provided with a separate cabin, car, residential quarters, and a peon even before joining the duty as a trainee on June 3. Not only this, Khedkar's father, also reportedly pressured the district collector's office to ensure that the trainee IAS officer's demands were fulfilled. However, she was denied the facilities and instead transferred to Washim. 

Khedkar now finds herself embroiled in a deeper mess as according to reports, she allegedly submitted fake disability and Other Backward Class (OBC) certificates to clear the civil services exam. Reports claimed that she had also submitted a mental illness certificate. In April 2022, she was asked to report at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, for verification of her disability certificate, but she did not do so, citing Covid infection.