Guwahati: Six more persons were arrested in connection with the police recruitment question paper leak in Assam, taking the total nabbed to 19, said DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, announcing that bounties will be announced to catch a former police officer and a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader for their alleged role.
Addressing a press conference for the first time after the scam was detected, the director-general of police said any person, irrespective of his political affiliation or post, will be arrested if found involved in the leaking of the question paper of the examination for recruiting unarmed sub-inspectors.
"We are looking to arrest ex-DIG PK Dutta and Diban Deka. They are absconding. We have decided to announce a reward for catching them. We will make the reward public after some time today," Mahanta said.
Senior officials of the CID, Guwahati Police and Assam Police, who were present at the press conference, gave the arrest figures from their respective divisions related to the case, which has rocked the state with the Opposition alleging BJP's direct involvement.
The CID has arrested four persons so far, while the Guwahati Police's Crime Branch has nabbed nine people. The Nalbari district police have also arrested six persons, they told reporters.
Talking about the two prime accused, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh said, "We have issued a lookout notice against Dutta so that he cannot leave the country. All the relevant information has been disseminated about him."
Singh also said that a separate case will be registered against his unaccounted wealth, while the Assam Police has already intimated the Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence about his huge list of properties running into several hundred crores of rupees across the state and outside.
Dutta has at least four luxury hotels and several residential properties in Guwahati, 1,600 bighas of land in Cachar district, apartments in Dibrugarh and other parts of the country, he added.
CID Inspector General Surendra Kumar said that during the search operations at Dutta's house and hotels, huge amounts of documents related to the examinations, 1.522 kg of gold and a pistol, whose license has expired, were seized.
Sources had earlier said that Dutta's driver and one bodyguard were arrested for their involvement in the case.
Deka, who identified himself as a national executive member of the BJP's Kisan Morcha on Facebook, on Thursday said that he was involved in the examination process and now he has "left Assam" as he might be "killed anytime" because "many big and corrupt officials" of the Assam Police are involved in the scam.
State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) Chairman Pradeep Kumar, who resigned on Sunday taking moral responsibility for the irregularities, earlier said that he had registered the case with the CID taking Deka and another person along with him to the CID headquarters.
When asked why Deka was not apprehended then, Singh said, "When Pradeep Kumar took Diban Deka to CID, he was a complainant at that time. His name was not in the FIR. Later during the investigation, it came up that he is also one accused.
"One thing is assured that Diban Deka will be arrested today or tomorrow. All involved will be arrested. In this case, 60-70% are technical investigations. So, no one can escape."
Kuldeep Rajbongshi, one of those arrested from Nalbari, also has a close connection with the ruling BJP and his pictures with senior party leaders have gone viral over the last few days.
On the role of Apollo Hospital in Guwahati, Singh said its technical head Pranjal Sharma used office computers to distribute question papers and store other documents, but the police have not found any evidence as of now to link the hospital as an institution in the case.
The DGP said that investigation into the case is going on simultaneously in several districts and cases have been registered in Karbi Anglong, Lakhimpur and Nalbari, among others.
On Saturday, police raided the ashram of one Dipak Baba in North Guwahati, but the tantrik had already fled the place before police reached. It is being said that Dutta used to visit the ashram frequently and the complex is situated on government land.
Police earlier arrested the owners of a lodge, where a mock test with about 50 candidates took place with the leaked question paper a day before the examination. The Crime Branch has found that a similar examination was held in one of Dutta's hotels as well.
On September 20, the question paper of the written examination for 597 posts of unarmed sub-inspectors in Assam Police got leaked and the test was cancelled minutes after it had begun across the state.
Around 66,000 candidates had appeared for the written test across 154 centres.