In what can be described as the biggest move against corruption by the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in Assam, the police have arrested 11 officers in connection with the jobs-for-cash scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) that took place during the previous Congress regime.
The 11 officers who belonged to the 2013 batch were picked up from different districts in the wee hours of Wednesday. Officials said 14 more officers are likely to be arrested in the next few days. The arrests came after the investigating team headed by SS Panesar, Additional SP, Dibrugarh, got forensic reports confirming the allegations against 25 officers who were put through a handwriting test in June this year. Those arrested till now include seven Assam Civil Service (ACS) officers and four of the Assam Police Service (APS).
The scandal in the APSC took place during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress government of Tarun Gogoi. Rakesh Kumar Paul, a small-time lawyer who later served as a notary, and appointed by the Congress government as APSC member in 2008 and as chairman in 2013, was earlier arrested in November 2016 in connection with the scam.
The BJP-led alliance headed by Sonowal, which came to power with the promise of protecting jaati-maati-bheti (nation-land-home) in May 2016, had also promised to free Assam from corruption, infiltration, and pollution. Chief Minister Sonowal had also announced a zero-tolerance policy of his government against corruption.
A massive scam in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC), which began with the arrest of a government engineer in Dibrugarh in October last year while allegedly collecting cash on behalf of APSC chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul (since arrested), has so far led to numerous arrests. The arrests so far include two APSC members Samedur Rahman and Basanta Kumar Doley, three other APSC officials and three Assam Civil Service (ACS) officers who have been already dismissed from service.
The eleven arrested in the wee hours of Wednesday are: Sabira Imran, Jayanta Kumar Das, Hemanta Hillol Sakia, Harsha Jyoti Bora (all Assam Police Service), Pallabika Sarma Choudhury, Dipankar Khanikar, Himangshu Choudhury, Aniruddha Roy, Debajit Bora, Amarjit Das and Sudipta Goswami Bharadwaj (all Assam Civil Service).