In an interesting development in the ongoing investigation into the question paper leak case of the Assam Police, the names of retired deputy inspector-general PK Dutta and ruling BJP leader Diban Deka have been doing the rounds. The paper leak incident had led to the cancellation of the recruitment examination for 597 posts of sub-inspectors in the department scheduled for September 20.
More evidence has also been found against Dutta, who is the main accused in the case and has been absconding since Wednesday, September 23, according to a regional daily Dainik Asom. It has also been reported that around 50 candidates were allegedly “coached” about the various aspects of the exam at a lodge a day before the exam.
So far, 10 arrests have been made in relation to the case, of whom one has been apprehended by the CID and nine by the crime branch of city police. Seven of the accused were arrested on Thursday, The Telegraph reported.
Following interrogation of those arrested from the lodge and elsewhere in the city, police conducted raids at the property of the retired DIG, who reportedly owns several houses and hotels across the state.
As per reports, in Upper Assam's Dibrugarh district, the former top cop is believed to own around 110 bighas of land. The total cost of this land is expected to be in the crores. In Guwahati, the former police officer is believed to own as many as five hotels -- including the 'Bhargav Grand' near the Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT). He owns another hotel in the Lakhra locality. Dutta's bungalow in Hengerabari was also raided by a team of police, where they recovered 8 kgs of gold, estimated to be worth more than Rs. 3 crore. Incriminating documents, and bank details of the absconding DIG have also been seized, reports said.
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It has also been revealed that Dutta was running several coaching centres in different places in the state to prepare students as how to appear in the exams conducted for various posts in the state government departments. The police got the clue about the coaching centres when it raided the house of one Kuldip Rajbongshi in Nalbari on Friday. Kuldip was arrested from Nalbari in connection with the question paper leak scam. A police team led by DSP Jupi Bordoloi raided Kuldip's house and recovered documents relating to some coaching centres, admit cards of Transport department's exams, pass books, bank drafts, 24 SIM cards and other documents, a regional daily reported.
“There are two aspects to the case now — one is the paper leak and the other is the recruitment racket. The probe is only widening with each passing day. But we are in the right direction,” the report added, while quoting a source.
Meanwhile, the other name associated with the case, Deka, had contested in the 2011 Assembly election on a BJP ticket. A former employee of the Saradha group—which was involved in a multi-crore deposit scam—Deka is reportedly holed up outside the state, as he feared for his life due to the involvement of several influential people in the paper leak case.
Before he went absconding, Deka had been questioned in connection with the case. He later revealed in a Facebook post that “he was associated with the private company that was tasked to conduct the examination. In fact, he claimed he had informed the State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) that conducted the examination about the paper leak.”
The paper leak case has elicited severe criticism from the Opposition Congress with leader Ripun Bora attacking the state government for its “failure” to hold the examination, saying they saw an “RSS plot” to recruit its members.
“These candidates should also be arrested. Such examinations, we are told, were held in several districts to help the RSS–backed candidates. We want a thorough, independent judicial probe. How can police probe against its own people?” Bora asked.
Further, Assam Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia has requested Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek an “explanation” from the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Limited (Keltron) authorities after it has “become embroiled” in the question paper leak scandal.
In his letter, Saikia has pointed out that Keltron had awarded sub-contracts to two local firms, namely Amain Tech Consultants Private Limited and M/s Akshay Tele Communications, which have dubious bonafides.
“While the first firm has already been involved in at least two question paper leak scandals involving other departments of the Government of Assam in recent times, the other firm is reported to be operating as a call centre and has no experience of conducting an important examination of this sort,” the letter said, thereby requesting Vijayan to call the company for an explanation.
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