Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday brushed aside the demand of BJP and its allies for a CBI probe into the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) intermediate-level examination question paper leak and dared them to come out with names of ministers that the opposition alleged were involved in it.
Leader of the opposition in Bihar assembly Prem Kumar had on Monday alleged that many ministers were beneficiaries of the BSSC examination scam. Assembly speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary and council chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh had earlier rejected BJP’s demand for adjournment motion to discuss the issue in the two houses of the state legislature.
“If the opposition has the name of any minister involved, it should make it public and not indulge in useless rhetoric,” Kumar told reporters after the BJP and its allies forced adjournment of the assembly during zero hour over BSSC question leak, alleged sexual exploitation of a Mahadalit girl and delay in the arrest of JD(U) MLA and former vice chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University (BAU) Mewalal Choudhary.
Choudhary was indicted by a probe committee, headed by retired Patna high court judge justice Syed Mohammed Mahfooz Alam, for irregularities in the appointment of 161 assistant professors and junior scientists, besides a few others, in 2012.
Kumar said he had never practised politics of “framing or protecting” anyone, nor had he ever believed in vendetta or mudslinging.
Asked if the government would put in place a mechanism for institutional safeguards of IAS officers against the manner in which BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar was arrested, the chief minister said he was yet to receive such a demand from the Bihar IAS Officers’ Association.
“All I know of such a demand is through the media. Some officers did meet me and I have initiated some exercise on that basis, but a formal representation has not come to me so far–either through my office, or through the governor’s office,” he said. “Let alone the government, even the court does not interfere in investigation,” he added.
The IAS association has severely objected to the manner in which senior officer Sudhir Kumar was arrested and said he was above reproach. It has demanded that whenever an officer of SDM or above rank is under scanner, the inquiry or investigation team should be headed only by an officer in supertime scale and above. “No haranguing should be permitted in the name of special investigation or regular investigation,” its memo said.
Nitish Kumar said after the question leak surfaced, the government did what was needed by setting up a special investigation team (SIT). “The government will act on the basis of the report of the SIT. Investigation is in the domain of police and courts will decide as per the evidence presented,” he added.
At least 29 persons, including Sudhir Kumar and BSSC secretary Parmeshwar Ram have been arrested in connection with the paper leak.
The BSSC was conducting the examinations for recruitment of about 17,000 panchayat secretaries, revenue workers and clerks in government departments across the state in four phases. The examinations were cancelled on February 7 after questions and answer keys were leaked on the social media, ahead of the second phase exam on February 5.
The CM also clarified that even in the case of BAU, the JD(U) MLA was suspended from the party as soon as the FIR was lodged against him.
“The MLA wanted to meet me to explain his position, but I said it was of no use. With the lodging of FIR, the matter could be adjudicated only in courts,” he added.
On the alleged sexual exploitation of the daughter of a former minister, the chief minister said the day the victim met him, he immediately called the home secretary and the DGP and directed them to initiate prompt action.
“The police will do their job. I don’t have the habit of interfering in the investigation,” he added.
Earlier, even before the assembly proceedings could begin, the opposition stood at the gate with placards and raised slogans demanding arrest of Choudhary in BAU job scam and Congress leader Brajesh Pandey in the sexual exploitation case, besides CBI probe into BSSC question leak.
The protests forced an early adjournment of the house.