19 held in Assam police job scam; cash award for absconding retd IPS officer, BJP leader
The police in Assam have arrested 19 people in connection with a scam in recruitment of sub-inspectors in the police department and are planning to announce a cash reward for information on a retired IPS officer and a ruling BJP leader-both accused of involvement and who are on the run.
“We have decided to announce a cash award for anyone providing information on the duo. We can assure that no one responsible will be spared,” DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told journalists on Monday.
The examination to recruit 587 SIs was cancelled in 154 exam centres across the state on September 20 after the question paper got leaked and was found circulating on Whatsapp. Nearly 64,000 applicants were scheduled to appear for the examination.
Investigation during the past week has revealed that several people including IPS officer PK Dutta and Dibon Deka, a BJP leader, were involved in the scam to leak the paper as well as conduct a mock test for some of the applicants at a hotel in Guwahati a day ahead of the examination.
“We have issued a lookout warrant for PK Dutta to ensure that he doesn’t leave the country. Assessment of the former IPS officer’s property is also being done. He has 4 hotels in Guwahati, 1600 bighas of land in Cachar district, an apartment complex in Dibrugarh and two flats in Mumbai among other properties,” said GP Singh, ADGP (law and order).
“Based on this we will lodge a case with the anti-corruption department to know how he acquired these properties. We have also intimated the income tax department, enforcement directorate and department of revenue intelligence about this and asked them to probe,” he added.
Singh, who is overseeing the entire investigation, informed that efforts are underway to nab both Dutta and Dibon Deka and assured that they would be arrested within the next few days.
“We will be able to unearth the entire conspiracy only after both are arrested. Till now we know that Deka had arranged for the question paper for the mock test conducted at a Guwahati hotel. We need to establish the link between Deka and Dutta,” he said.
As per investigation, police have been able to establish that the leaked question paper which was circulating on Whatsapp and based on which the exam was cancelled had originated from PK Dutta’s mobile phone
Following cancellation of the examination, the criminal investigation department (CID) had lodged a case under sections of 409 and 120B of IPC for criminal breach of trust by public servant and criminal conspiracy and 66B of IT Act and started investigations.
“We lodged a case on September 20 based on a complaint by Pradeep Kumar, chairman of state level police recruitment board (who has now voluntarily resigned),” said Surender Kumar, IGP, criminal investigation department (CID).
The CID conducted raids in Guwahati-based residences hotels and of a retired IPS officer Duttta, who is stated to have played a key role in the scam and is absconding for over a week now.
“We have recovered incriminating evidence related to the crime from those places including receipts of money taken from candidates, blank admission forms, ₹5.5 lakh, a pistol and over 1 kg gold ornaments etc.,” said Kumar.
Simultaneously, crime branch of Guwahati police registered another case on September 20 based on information that some people were trying to take money from candidates for the post in lieu of giving them jobs.
Based on investigation till now, 9 persons have been arrested till date. Six more persons have also been arrested in Nalbari district in connection with the case. Several separate investigations are underway in some other districts as well.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA and leader of opposition in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia has demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of Gauhati High Court to probe all aspects of the scam and find out if there was any conspiracy to allow accused Dutta and Deka to abscond.
“Deka has not been convicted yet. If he is guilty, the law will take it own course and the party will also take action against him. The paper leak of the exam is not a scam but an anomaly,” BJP chief spokesperson for Assam Rupam Goswami told journalists on Sunday.