GUWAHATI: The Dibrugarh Police on Wednesday arrested 19 officers of Assam’s civil administration and police in connection with the cash-for-jobs scam in Assam Public Service Commission (APSC).
One of the arrested officers was Pallavi Sarma, daughter of BJP Lok Sabha member RP Sarma who represents Assam’s Tezpur seat. Two others, Bhargav Phukan and Deepshikha, are the children of former judge Jamini Gogoi Phukan. All the arrested officers were recruited through the APSC in 2016.
Those arrested included 13 officers of Assam Civil Service, three of Assam Police Service, one district transport officer, one tax superintendent and one tax inspector. They were arrested soon after they had sat for a handwriting test at the special branch headquarters of Assam Police in Guwahati. With these, over 50 officers have been arrested so far in the case.
Meanwhile, RTI activist and leader of peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee, Akhil Gogoi, demanded that all the candidates of Assam’s powerful Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, advisor to All Assam Students’ Union Samujjal Bhattacharya and a section of BJP leaders should be brought under the purview of the probe.
“RP Sarma had said only a selected group of officers was targeted. Himanta Biswa Sarma was involved in the scam. At least, 15 people had secured the plum jobs through him. Why is he not being brought under the purview of the ongoing investigation by the police? Why are his people not arrested? It’s not a fair probe as only certain people are being targeted. Several BJP leaders were directly involved in the scam. We demand that the case be handed over to the CBI,” Gogoi insisted.
Last year, the police had caught an assistant engineer with the town and country planning department in Dibrugarh, Nabakanta Patir, red-handed while he was accepting bribes of Rs.10 lakh from a lady dentist Angshumita. He had approached her promising a “confirmed” job through the APSC and demanded the money but she had tipped off the police.
Later, based on Patir’s confession, a PSO of an APSC member was arrested. During the interrogation of the duo, it emerged that they were working as conduits of a section of senior officials of the Commission in the sale of the plum jobs. In due course, the then APSC chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul and several of his senior colleagues were arrested by the police.