13 Arrested in Assam Police Job Paper Leak Case, Ashram of Tantrik Raided in Guwahati
Three more persons were arrested on Saturday in connection with the police recruitment question paper leak scam taking the number of those nabbed to 13, while the sleuths probing the case raided an ashram of a tantrik in the city. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh said two persons were arrested from Guwahati and Tinsukia by the CID.
"Many others have also been picked up for interrogation. We are proceeding fast and hope to take the case towards the closure stage in the next few days," he said. One person, who was picked up on Friday in Nalbari district, was arrested and produced before the court, an official said.
The 13 arrested include a woman employee of the state irrigation department and one from the Special Task Force of Assam Police. About 10 others were detained from different parts of the state. The Assam Police's CID and Guwahati Police's Crime Branch sleuths are probing the scandal and have expanded their area of investigation by raiding various locations, mainly unaccounted properties by the ex-DIG P K Dutta, across the state.
A source said the sleuths have raided the ashram of one 'Dipak Baba' in north Guwahati but the tantrik had fled the place before the police reached there. It is said that Dutta used to visit the ashram frequently and the complex is situated on government land.
The investigating agencies also searched the residences and other properties of senior BJP leader Diban Deka, who on Thursday posted on social media that he was involved with the examination process and had "left Assam as he might be killed anytime because many big and corrupt officials of Assam Police are involved in the scam". The sleuths have seized a laptop, bank passbooks and some documents after questioning Deka's wife for several hours at his residence here.
Meanwhile, jailed activist Akhil Gogoi said that the question paper leak is a much bigger scam than the Vyapam scandal that rocked Madhya Pradesh a few years ago and alleged that the BJP-led state government is involved in it. The Crime Branch continued its operations at several properties of the former DIG, while the CID with the help of district police carried on its search in his poperties at Dibrugarh, Silchar, Tinsukia and Nalbari for the second straight day.
"We are conducting the investigation vigorously with all seriousness covering all aspects of the crime. Along with CID and Crime Branch several district police are involved in this probe," Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said. On Friday, three staffers of a corporate hospital in Guwahati were picked up for questioning after police found the leaked question papers and other documents in their office computers.
The hospital management claimed that they have no role in the scam and are extending full cooperation to the probe. Dutta, who owns the Bhargav chain of luxury hotels in Guwahati, has several apartments in many cities of Assam and outside. During multiple raids at his residence in Hengerabari locality of Guwahati, around 8 kgs of gold along with huge amounts of documents were seized.
"As per information, he also owns tea gardens and more than 100 bighas of land in Dibrugarh. In Silchar, he reportedly has 1,400 bighas of rubber plantation. The probe team is also getting news of his involvement in land grabbing, syndicate and elephant smuggling," a senior police official said on condition of anonymity. Police arrested the owners of a lodge, where a mock test with about 50 candidates took place with the leaked question paper a day before the scheduled examination. The Crime Branch has found that a similar examination was held in one of Dutta's hotels.
On September 20, the question paper of the written examination for 597 posts of unarmed sub-inspectors in Assam Police was leaked and the State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) cancelled the test minutes after it had commenced across the state. Around 66,000 candidates had appeared for the written tests across 154 centres in all the districts.
On September 12, the SLPRB chairman Pradeep Kumar had issued a notice cautioning the candidates against touts after an audio clip went viral. The audio clip promised a job in the post of a police sub-inspector against payment of Rs 4 lakh cash. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had directed Kumar to conduct the examination again within a month and asked the Director General of Police to identify the nexus, which had conspired to spoil the recruitment process. He also ordered that the culprits should be given strict punishment as soon as possible.