ASSAM PUBLIC Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Pal was arrested Friday evening under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Police said they have found “hard evidence” against Pal and at least one more member of the APSC. They are also on the look-out for another APSC member, Samedur Rahman.
Pal’s arrest followed the arrest of Navakanta Patir, an assistant engineer in the state’s town and country planning department in Dibrugarh, after a complaint by a dentist who had appeared for government recruitment through the APSC last week. “We have arrested Rakesh Pal on the basis of hard evidence we gathered after the arrest of Patir,” said Dibrugarh SP Gautam Bora.
While Patir was arrested on October 27, Pal was arrested in Guwahati by a team of police personnel from Dibrugarh.
Patir was arrested red-handed when Dr Ansumita Gogoi, the dentist, was paying him a bribe of Rs 10 lakh on October 27. Pal had reportedly ensured that Dr Gogoi was interviewed by the APSC panel headed by him the next day. The dentist had informed the police about the bribe she was asked to pay to Patir.
Dibrugarh SP Bora said the police have slapped Sections 120(B) and 420 of the IPC along with Sections 7 and 13(1)(b)(d) against Pal. “We will produce him before a magistrate early tomorrow and shift him to Dibrugarh for interrogation,” SP Bora said.
The arrest of Patir had also led to the recovery of Rs 12 lakh in cash from the residence of a woman in Bokakhat, who is said to be his sister-in-law. “We are also conducting raids in some houses which belong to Pal,” Bora said.
The police had on November 1 arrested Mamud Ali Choudhury, a police constable, who was deployed as PSO of Samedur Rahman, another APSC member, for allegedly collecting bribes from people appearing for recruitment tests through the APSC. Rahman, who was also summoned by the police, is absconding.
Pal, who has appointed a member of the APSC in 2008, was elevated as its chairman in 2013.