Uttarakhand paper leak: Local BJP leader arrested
Police said Rawat is one of the “masterminds” of the leak, who was on the run and trying to enter Himachal Pradesh when he was held in Uttarkashi
Hakam Singh Rawat, a panchayat member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was on Sunday arrested in connection with the Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UKSSSC) paper leak.
Police said Rawat is one of the “masterminds” of the leak, who was on the run and trying to enter Himachal Pradesh when he was held in Uttarkashi on Saturday and brought to Dehradun for interrogation. “On the basis of concrete evidence against him, he was arrested,” said senior superintendent of police Ajay Singh.
He said Rawat was on their radar since the beginning of the probe but no one was willing to testify against him given his influence. “Hence, our priority was to first collect the concrete evidence against him before arresting him. He was in Thailand and returned on August 7.”
Singh added Rawat also played an important role in the leak of another examination paper in 2021 and is connected to an inter-state gang based in Uttar Pradesh. He added Rawat took some candidates to Dhampur in Bijnor to provide them with the leaked question paper. Singh said Rawat and another accused, Tanuj Sharma, also gave the leaked question paper to 20-22 candidates in Dehradun.
Sharma was arrested on Saturday and corroborated the role of Rawat in the fresh paper leak in December, police said.
A second police officer said around 80 candidates from Uttarkashi, where Rawat is a panchayat member, cracked the exam. “Even his sister-in-law and other relatives also made it to the merit list. It is being ascertained how many of them passed the exam through unfair means.”
Rawat has named two people whom he sourced the question paper from. ₹12-15 lakh was charged per candidate for the leaked question paper and taken in two installments. The police have not recovered any money from Rawat so far.
Police said the names of many panchayat members and public representatives have come up during the investigation and more “influential” people are expected to be arrested.
On July 22, a case was registered in Dehradun in connection with the paper leak. At least 18 people, including two additional private secretaries posted at the state secretariat, have been arrested in the case so far. ₹83 lakh was recovered from the accused.
BJP leader Mahendra Bhatt said he has sought a report from the party’s Uttarkashi president on Rawat. “Once it comes, we would initiate action against him.” Bhatt said the BJP does not tolerate corruption and takes action if anybody associated with the party is found involved in corrupt practices.
Congress leader Karan Mahara said Rawat enjoys the patronage of big BJP leaders. “...His photos with [BJP leaders] Satpal Maharaj, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Dhan Singh Rawat, and other big leaders on his social media prove the same. It proves the allegation of a former UKSSSC chairman who admitted to political pressure. Under BJP, this paper leak happened and its leaders were involved.”