Updated: December 23, 2021 2:46:23 am
A day after 93 members, including top leaders, of Gujarat Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were jailed for protesting outside the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Gandhinagar over the alleged paper leak of head clerk recruitment exam, the party on Wednesday hit back at the BJP calling them “shameless” even as police arrested four more accused in the paper leak.
Ahmedabad police detained AAP New Delhi MLA Gulab Singh Yadav, state vice-president Bhemabhai Chaudhary and senior leader Mahesh Savani on Wednesday after they tried to stage a protest outside the collector’s office.
On December 20, scores of AAP Gujarat workers staged a protest outside the BJP headquarters, Shree Kamalam, in Gandhinagar over the alleged question paper leak of recruitment exam conducted by the Gujarat Subordinate Service Selection Board (GSSSB). At the protest, BJP and AAP workers clashed and police resorted to a lathicharge.
The AAP demanded the ouster of GSSSB chairman Asit Vora over the paper leak. Later, based on a complaint by a BJP woman worker, Gandhinagar police arrested 93 AAP workers, including party’s state president Gopal Italia, women’s wing president Gauri Desai, youth wing president Nikhil Savani and senior leaders such as Isudan Gadhvi and Hasmukh Patel. They were booked under 22 criminal sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other acts and sent to judicial custody on Tuesday night after they were denied bail by court.
Speaking at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Gulab Singh Yadav said, “On December 20, AAP workers under the leadership of Gopal Italia went to the BJP office to protest in a peaceful manner… GSSSB chairman Asit Vora has played with the lives of thousands of candidates… yet he is out in the open but 93 of our workers, including 28 women, are in jail. Vora, who is behind the conspiracy, he has not been booked under IPC 120b for criminal conspiracy.”
“The manner in which Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil and Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi has reacted over the incident… I am surprised how shameless they can be. By now Vora should have been removed and an FIR be lodged against him. There cannot be an impartial investigation till this man heads the GSSSB. We also demand a compensation of Rs 50,000 each to all 88,000 candidates who appeared in the exam. From today Mahesh Savani and I will do an Anshan (fast-cum-sit-in protest) in front of the collector’s office in Ahmedabad, raising our demands,” Yadav added.
When asked about the serious criminal charges against the top leadership of AAP Gujarat, Yadav said, “Our leader Arvind Kejriwal and myself have several fake cases lodged against us in Delhi and other cities. AAP workers are not scared of going to jail. Our ultimate judge is the 6.5 crore people of Gujarat. We call upon them to see what’s happening in Gujarat and how the opposition Congress has become a mute spectator.”
Later in the afternoon, Yadav, Savani and Chaudhary tried to stage a protest outside collector’s office in Ahmedabad, when police detained them and kept them at Ranip police station till Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, 30 workers of the Gujarat Congress were also detained by the police on Wednesday afternoon after they staged a protest against the paper leak by blocking the road outside their office Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Paldi. They were released later.
The state government on Tuesday cancelled the head clerk recruitment exam accepting that the paper was leaked and on Wednesday, four more accused, including two women aspirants, were arrested in Sabarkantha, taking the total number of arrested persons to 18.
Police said that while the accused had sold the question paper in Sabarkantha, the leak allegedly happened from a printing press in Sanand of Ahmedabad that received a contract from the GSSSB to print it. By Tuesday, police had arrested 14 persons, including the main accused Jayesh Patel who allegedly sold the papers, and Kishor Acharya, a staff at a printing press in Sanand who provided the paper to him.
The accused arrested on Wednesday are Danabhai Dangar, Keyur Patel, Himani Desai and Krupali Patel. “After printing staff Kishor Acharya was arrested, he confessed to have sold one set of question paper to Danabhai and one to Keyur Patel who then gave it to different candidates. Two candidates Himani Desai and Krupali Patel who received the question paper one night before the exams have also been arrested. So far, we have recovered over Rs 34 lakh cash from the 18 accused,” said a senior police officer in Sabarkantha.
On December 12, 88,000 candidates had appeared for written examination for 186 vacancies of head clerk post across the state. Days later, police found out that the question paper was leaked and sold to aspirants at Rs 8 to Rs 15 lakh each.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.