GUWAHATI: Twenty six Assam officers, including 13 from the Assam Civil Service (ACS) and seven from Assam Police Service (APS), underwent tests in Guwahati on Friday in connection with the multi-crore cash-for-jobs scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC).
They had secured the jobs in 2015 by cracking the civil services exam which was conducted by the APSC.
The Dibrugarh police, probing the scam, had summoned the officers to the special branch of Assam police. During the tests, they were asked to append their signatures on a blank paper, and were also interrogated.
The police said the papers would be sent to forensic laboratories outside the state to ascertain if the handwriting matched the answer sheets.
Assam’s director general of police, Mukesh Sahay, told the New Indian Express that the officers were summoned for questioning.
“Earlier, two sets of answer sheets of three ACS officers were seized (one from Paul’s residence and another from APSC office). There have been no two sets of answer sheets seized from his house. But as we have to find out as to whose answer sheets these are, the 26 officers were summoned,” Sahay said.
The seizure of the papers confirmed that the trio were selected based on duplicate assessment and as such, arrested.
In due course, the police seized over 1,000 copies of the answer sheets from the APSC office for examination and sent summons to the 26 officers. The police said most of the seized answer sheets were yet to be examined.
It was revealed during investigation that Paul used to facilitate exams for candidates who offered him cash for the jobs, under his supervision at a place and time of his choosing.
This was in addition to their appearance at the designated exam centres, and he would later swap the answer sheets. Each candidate had to offer anything between Rs.10 lakh to Rs.40 lakh for the jobs.
Peasants’ leader and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi claimed that there were a number of officers who had secured jobs through political influence.
Earlier, Paul and eight others, including two members and an assistant APSC exam controller, were arrested and remanded to judicial custody in connection with the scam.
Last year, Dibrugarh police had arrested an assistant engineer, Nabakanta Patir, after he was caught accepting bribes of Rs.10 lakh from a lady dentist. He had approached her promising a job through the APSC and demanded the money, but she tipped off the police.
Later, based on his confession, a PSO of an APSC member was arrested. During the duo’s interrogation, it emerged that they were working as conduits in the sale of the jobs.