ADGP Paul arrested in PSI recruitment case
A CID officer said that ADGP Amrit Paul was aware of the Bluetooth devices used in the riggings of PSI recruitment exams and had received a bribe for collaborating.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested additional director general of police (ADGP) Amrit Paul on Monday as part of the probe into the police sub-inspector (PSI) recruitment scam, officials said.
ADGP Paul was heading the recruitment division of the Karnataka Police when the alleged malpractice was reported. After reports of large-scale irregularities, Paul was transferred to the post of the ADGP, Internal Security Division on April 27.
A senior official of the CID who confirmed the arrest said that Paul was taken into custody following the interrogation that took place on Monday. Before the arrest, he was summoned for questioning as part of the probe and appeared before CID four times.
“He had tried to stay away from the investigation for over a month giving various reasons. This, along with the evidence we have received following the interrogation of the other officers arrested in the case, prompted the CID to take him into custody,” said the officer, who didn’t want to be named.
On Monday, the CID questioned Paul and later took him to Bowring hospital for a medical examination before he was taken to the court.
The exams had taken place last year in October to fill 545 posts and more than 54,000 candidates wrote it. In January this year, two police officers from Mysuru and Kalaburagi wrote to state police chief Praveen Sood demanding a revaluation of the exams. Soon, allegations of malpractices and alleged police involvement cropped up, followed by protests from the Opposition, which prompted the state home minister to order a probe in the case.
The Karnataka government has annulled the exam in view of the large scale irregularities.
The CID officials have so far arrested over 60 persons, including the topper of the PSI exams, who was allegedly linked to middlemen, and officials to get the OMR sheets filled up after submission.
The arrest of the senior IPS officer comes closer to two months after a senior officer in the recruitment wing was also arrested. After the CID arrested deputy superintendent of police (DySP) Shantha Kumar, it was revealed that the rigging of answer sheets took place at the examination centres, and answer sheets were forged after they were taken out of the police strongrooms.
“The DySP was in charge of the strongroom where the answer sheets were kept. We have found that answer sheets were taken out of this room and were tampered with. We are probing now who all were involved in getting the answer sheets out of the strongroom,” the officer said on the condition of anonymity.
So far, the investigation by the CID has revealed that two kinds of malpractice took place during the examination. First was giving answers to candidates using a Bluetooth device, which can’t be found with a metal detector. The second was forging the answer sheets.
“The candidates attempted a limited number of answers, and the rest were filled after the examination. Our initial assessment was that the answers were added by invigilators at the centre because most of the people we arrested were involved in such malpractice. But now, there is evidence of filling the answer sheets. We need to find if it was a separate gang,” said the CID official.
The CID officer said that Paul was aware of the Bluetooth devices used in the riggings and had received a bribe for collaborating.
“We are also investigating the allegation that he had taken a bribe to allot certain examination centres with the knowledge that malpractice will take place. The interrogation of other officers has also revealed that he had played a part in sending certain candidates to centres where rigging was taking place and also was aware of the mark sheets being taken out of the strongroom of the department,” the officer added.
Responding to the arrest, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said that the government is committed to cleansing the entire system through an unbiased and uncompromising probe. “The CID has been given a free hand to investigate the PSI recruitment scam. They have taken action based on the evidence. Our government will act against the guilty even if it happens to be top officials. The earlier governments had not bothered to investigate even when voices were raised against such scams during their regime,” Bommai said.