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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Bihar recruitment board chairman held for exam racket scam

A Bihar-cadre IAS officer of 1987 batch, Sudhir Kumar was likely to be brought to Patna later in the afternoon and produced in a local court in connection with BSSC question paper leak.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2017 20:37 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Members of the All India Students Federation (AISF) demonstrating and burning effigy of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at Bhagat Singh Chowk in Patna to protest leak of BSSC exam question papers.
Members of the All India Students Federation (AISF) demonstrating and burning effigy of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar at Bhagat Singh Chowk in Patna to protest leak of BSSC exam question papers. (HT file photo)

Senior IAS officer and chairman of the Bihar Staff Selection Commission Sudhir Kumar, was arrested from his parents’ house in Hazaribagh town in neighbouring Jharkhand early Friday, in connection with the question paper leak case.

Patna zone IG of police NH Khan said, Kumar along with five others, including his brother Prof Avadhesh Kumar, sister in law Manju Devi, nephew Ashish Kumar, one Sajjad Ahmad and BSSC IT manager Niti Ranjan Pratap were arrested from Hazaribagh.

“Many more arrests are likely,” he added.

Kumar, who served as home secretary during the Jitan Ram Manjhi regime (Aug 2014-Feb 2015), was later brought to Patna and after interrogation, was put up on the veterinary college campus.

He and the five others were produced in the court of additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) in the afternoon.

Members of the Bihar IAS officers’ association later submitted a memorandum to chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and met chief minister Nitish Kumar in the evening to register their protest over arrest of the 1987-batch officer and to seek his release.

The memorandum described Kumar as “one of the finest officers of the cadre” and sought transfer of the BSSC question leak case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A senior officer said the timing of the arrest, with three days of holiday to follow, also raised question about the intent behind it.

Sudhir Kumar is the second IAS officer to be arrested on corruption charges within a year. Last year, 2013-batch IAS officer and former SDM of Mohania (Kaimur), Dr Jitendra Gupta, was arrested and promptly suspended, though he was later released on bail by the Patna high court. The government also revoked his suspension later. At that time also, the IAS body had vehemently opposed Gupta’s arrest.

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh said that the association members were of the opinion that the arrest was not warranted, as he was not running away and in fact, regularly attending his office and cooperating with the investigation. “We will look into the matter,” he added.

If the officer remains under arrest for more than 24 hours and is forwarded to jail, following production in court, there could be further complications for him. He would be put under suspension, as per the civil servants’ conduct rules.

Earlier, the special investigation team (SIT) probing the question leak case had picked up nearly 30 persons, including commission secretary Parmeshwar, Ram and a computer operator.

Patna SSP Manu Maharaj said there was concrete evidence against Kumar, as five of his kin, including two nephews, were also taking the inter-level examination, which was cancelled after question leak. “We had procured arrest warrants for arrest of the chairman from the court before proceeding for Hazaribagh,” he added.

Maharaj said, the arrest of chairman’s nephew Ashish Kumar and his confession during interrogation corroborated the chairman’s involvement. “The police recovered question papers and answer keys from Ashish, who said that he got it from Manju Devi who had received it from the chairman. Once his relatives had question papers for February 5 examination on January 29 itself, it spread to other circles through professional brokers and BSSC IT manager,” he added.

The police had earlier quizzed Kumar on February 13. Not satisfied with his response, the police had given him a written questionnaire the following day, for his reply.