PATNA: The names of nearly a dozen ministers and MLAs in Bihar surfaced in the list of influential people who had approached the Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) with recommendations to help their favoured candidates get jobs, on Friday.
The probe by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) has reportedly traced text messages sent by these politicians and a number of senior government officials to BSSC secretary Parameshwar Ram and other BSSC officials before and on the days the recruitment examinations were held by the BSSC for thousands of clerical jobs. Politicians who allegedly sent recommendation messages include cooperatives minister Alok Mehta of RJD, law and public health engineering minister Krishna Nandan Vera of JD(U), RJD vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, JD(U) legislator Ram Balak Singh and Opposition BJP legislator Suresh Kumar Sharma, said sources.
The revelations caused ripples in Bihar’s political circles as sources said the SIT could formally come out with more names and may interrogate the politicians who allegedly sent recommendations to the BSSC to ensure their favoured candidates got the jobs.
The examinations conducted by the BSSC in January and February were scraped after question papers were leaked on WhatsApp groups hours before the Statewide examinations began. Parameshwar Ram and BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar, an IAS officer, were among some 20 people who were arrested and lodged in jail for alleged
connivance in the leaks.
When contacted, Alok Mehta admitted having sent a recommendation, but the others declined to speak on the allegations. Senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi demanded that all those whose names have surfaced should be interrogated regardless of their political affiliations. “Yes, I had made a recommendation, and it is not illegal. We are political people and we are approached by many for requests of help. There is a difference between making a recommendation and facilitating leak of question papers,” said Mehta and added that he is ready to cooperate in the investigation in case it is needed.
The Opposition BJP leaders flayed the government over the probe being conducted by the SIT into the question paper leak case. “This probe is a mere eyewash. Unless the probe is conducted by the CBI, all the influential people in the State government who played significant roles in the question paper leak would escape,” said senior BJP leader and former minister Nand Kishore Yadav.