Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Cash-for-job scam: 21 govt officials suspended in Assam

At least 21 high-ranked government officers including senior police personnel were suspended by Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria for their alleged involvement in a cash-for-job scam in the recruitment examinations conducted by the Assam Public Service Commission, an official said on Friday.

Ten officers of the Assam Civil Service (ACS) and 11 officers of the Assam Police Service (APS) are among the suspended officials.

When the previous APSC chairman Rakesh Paul was taken into custody by the police in the Dibrugarh in November 2016, it became apparent that there were alleged irregularities with the Combined Competitive Examination (CCE) that the APSC conducted in 2013, 2015, and 2016.

In March this year, he was released on bail.

At least 57 more government officials were detained for their alleged involvement after he was apprehended.

After assuming the chair of Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma restarted the investigation and established an inquiry panel led by Justice (retd) Biplab Kumar Sharma of the Guwahati High Court in 2021.

Sarma gave the go-ahead to establish a special investigation team (SIT) last month in order to look into the allegations more thoroughly.

The Gauhati High Court will receive the report from the SIT

headed by Additional Director General of Police (DGP) (CID) Munna Prasad Gupta in six months.

Prior to this, the Assam government received a report from the committee led by Biplab Sarma, which listed 34 officials from the 2013 batch for their alleged involvement in the scam.

This prompted the state government to file departmental actions against them.

Of the 34 officials, 29 were called by the SIT, and two were taken into custody last week.

The Assam Governor in his order wrote that justice BK Sharma’s committee reported anomalies and malpractices in the selection of the candidates in exchange for money and other extraneous considerations by APSC chairman (former) Rajesh Paul in CCE-2013, 15 and 16.

He mentioned: “The appointments took place by illegal enhancement of marks. Hence, the government considers that allowing the officer to continue in their present posts may not be in the interest of public service.”

Kataria further said that criminal offence cases have also been registered against the suspended officers, and departmental proceedings are going on.

The order reads: “The Governor of Assam is satisfied that it is necessary and expedient to place these Assam Government employees under suspension following the Assam Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1964.”

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