Assam Public Service Commission chief suspended

Guwahati, Nov 26 (IANS) The Assam government has suspended the arrested chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) Rakesh Paul for his involvement in a multi-crore cash-for-jobs scam, an official said on Saturday.

The Raj Bhavan here on Friday also sought a direction from President Mukherjee seeking to remove the tainted chairman.

A special police team from the state’s Dibrugarh district probing the alleged involvement of the APSC chairman and some of his associates in the cash-for-jobs scam, had arrested Paul, APSC member Samedur Rahman, his personal security officer, and APSC’s assistant controller of examinations, Pabitra Kaibarta earlier this year and questioned them.

After expiry of their police custody, the court here had sent Paul and Rahman to judicial custody while the others are in police custody.

On November 9 this year, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal convened a cabinet meeting and the cabinet unanimously decided to move a proposal to the Assam Governor seeking to suspend the APSC chairman.

“We received the nod of the Governor to suspend Paul and the government has issued the suspension letter of Paul. The Assam Governor had already written to the President of India seeking his direction in removing Paul from his position,” said an official of the prsonnel department of the Assam government while adding that Paul will remain suspended till further instructions from the President of India.

The police had arrested the APSC chairman while investigating a bribery case in Dibrugarh.

Police claimed to have got substantial evidence against Paul to prove his involvement in scam. Subsequent to the arrest of Paul on November 4, the police had also arrested APSC member Samedur Rahman and assistant controller of examinations Kaibarta for his alleged involvement in the scam.

There had been allegations that Paul and some of his trusted members and staff of the APSC took huge amounts of money for selecting candidates for the Assam civil service examination and other officials for different departments of the state.

There had also been allegations of Paul obtaining assets disproportionate to his known source of income and that Paul has acquired assets in the name of his wife, his brother, his driver and other relatives.

Last year, the Gauhati High Court had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out a probe, particularly regarding the assets possessed by Paul, his wife, brother and driver.

The court, however, asked the CBI not to arrest Paul during the preliminary enquiry but said he could be questioned and upon completion of the probe the investigating body shall submit a report to the court.

The court’s instructions came during a hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a peasants’ rights body.

–IANS

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