The IAS officer heading the Bihar Staff Selection Commission was arrested on Friday along with four of his relatives in connection with a paper leak that led to the scrapping of an exam for the post of government clerks and assistants.The relatives of officer Sudhir Kumar were aspirants for the jobs, according to the Special Investigation Team of the Patna Police. Kumar, who had earlier served as state home secretary, and his relatives were arrested in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand, where the officer had gone on a short leave.
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The SIT said the arrest was made after gathering adequate technical evidence. Around 13,000 posts of clerks and assistants were to be filled up through the test. The exam was cancelled after the second phase when allegations of the paper leak were found to be true. Questions and answers had been circulated just an hour before the test.
The IAS Officers’ Association protested Kumar’s arrest. Its Bihar branch demanded his immediate release and insisted that the government hand over the probe to the CBI. The commission’s secretary, Parmeshwar Ram, had been arrested earlier.
Patna SSP Manu Maharaj said: “We have gathered enough technical evidence suggesting the involvement of the BSSC Chairman. Though the question papers and OMR sheets are published at different places, we have proof of conversations between those printing the question papers and those printing the OMR sheets.”
He said at least five relatives of Kumar had taken the preliminary test, two phases of which were conducted between the last week of January and the first seek of February.
Asked if the questions and answers were leaked to the relatives of the IAS officer, Maharaj said the possibility could not be ruled out.
Asked who between the commission chairman and the secretary was kingpin of the leak, he said: “The BSSC Chairman controls the overall functioning of the commission, and hence his role is very much under the cloud.” The relatives were arrested on the grounds of allegedly conniving with Kumar.
Secretary of the Bihar branch of the IAS Officers’ Association, Vivek Singh, has expressed the officers’ concerns to the Bihar Chief Secretary and also sought time from the Chief Minister. “The association will fight for Kumar, who is a sincere, honest and competent officer. The association has decided to bear all legal and other expenses on his behalf,” he said.
Twenty-nine people have been arrested in connection with the paper leak. More than 17.5 lakh candidates were to appear for the four-phase preliminary test.