A division bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising acting Chief Justice K Sreedhar Rao and Justice P K Saikia, on Thursday directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into allegations of corruption and holding disproportionate assets by Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Paul as well his wife and brother.
The order came after the high court was not satisfied with an affidavit filed by the APSC chairman in connection with a PIL filed by RTI activist Akhil Gogoi earlier.
The court, however, made it clear that that CBI shall not arrest Paul but can interrogate him.
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In his PIL, Akhil Gogoi had also stated that Mukul Saikia, a Superintendent of Police of the Assam Police Vigilance and Anti-Corruption department, had conducted an inquiry against the APSC chairman in which he had allegedly mentioned details of the assets held by Paul which were said to be disproportionate to his income.
The court has also taken into consideration a report by Saikia of an inquiry conducted in 2013 that the APSC chairman had allegedly accumulated wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. Moreover, Saikia had recently sought a posting outside Guwahati in the interest of a free and fair inquiry into the APSC anomalies. The SP had in an affidavit to the HC also stated that since Paul was an influential person there is a possibility of the investigation getting hampered.
Senior advocates and amicus curiae P K Tiwari and Bhaskar Dev Konwar on Thursday told the High Court that only a preliminary enquiry by CBI could restore the confidence upon a constitutional post like the APSC chairman. Paul’s lawyers, however, contended that only the Supreme Court could order an inquiry against or remove the APSC chairman.