Senior IAS officer and Bihar Staff Selection Commission (BSSC) chairman Sudhir Kumar was arrested by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Friday in connection with the recruitment examination scam of third grade clerical positions.
“SIT has arrested BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar and four others, including his brother, sister-in-law and two of his nephew, in connection with the scam,” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj told newsmen after questioning Kumar for hours. Maharaaj is also heading the special team constituted on the orders of the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to investigate the matter.
“We arrested Kumar on the basis of concrete evidence of his role in the entire matter,” he added. According to the police, Kumar leaked the questions and the answer key to his brother Awadesh Kumar, who in turn gave this to his wife and his nephew Ashish Kumar. Both of them were appearing in the examination. The paper was later further leaked to several coaching institute owners, who sold it to the highest bidders.
Maharaaj also clarified that Kumar was arrested near Patna Airport on Friday morning. Earlier local media reports indicated that the senior IAS officer had been arrested from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district. Kumar was later grilled for hours by the SIT, but he evaded most of the questions, told police officials.
Meanwhile, the arrest also sparked a tussle between powerful IAS and IPS lobbies in Bihar.
The Bihar chapter of IAS Officers’ Association has “strongly demanded” a CBI inquiry to ensure an independent and fair probe.
The Association expressed deep anger and anguish over the arrest and said that it would take up the matter with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
The Association, in a press release, termed the arrest as “completely unwarranted” as the BSSC chairman is an honest and sincere officer and was cooperating with the investigation and demanded his immediate release. The release said the Association has “decided to bear all legal and other expenses on his behalf”.
On the other hand, Police termed Kumar’s arrest as essential to unearth the whole racket. “We have followed all necessary procedures before making the arrest. We have done a very thorough and technical enquiry. All evidences pointed towards involvement of BSSC Chairman. He has so far refused to answer most of our quarries. Therefore, last night we submitted a memo of evidence to a judge and obtained a warrant for his arrest,” told Patna SSP.
The Bihar government had on February 8 last cancelled the BSSC examination held to fill up the posts of clerks in state government jobs in the wake of paper leak. So far, 34 people have been arrested in the matter.