(additional input) Guwahati, Sep 24 (PTI) Senior BJP leader Diban Deka, whose name has cropped up in the police recruitment question paper leak scam, on Thursday said he has 'left the state' as he might be 'killed anytime' because 'many big and corrupt officials' of the Assam police are involved in the nexus against him.
An Assam police spokesperson, meanwhile, said seven more persons, including one from the Special Task Force (STF) of Assam Police itself, have been arrested by the Crime Branch of Guwahati police, taking the total number of people apprehended in the case to 10.
On Wednesday, three persons, including a woman employee of the state government's Irrigation Department, were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Crime Branch in connection with the leaking of the question paper for unarmed sub-inspector posts.
Along with the Crime Branch, the Assam police's CID have been conducting marathon raids at the residence of ex-DIG P K Dutta, many hotels owned by his family and several other sites in and around the state capital, and interrogated half a dozen people, including Deka.
Deka, who identified himself as the National Executive Member of BJP's Kisan Morcha on Facebook, was questioned by the investigating officers a few days ago, but 'he is now absconding'.
In a post on his Facebook account, Deka said he is involved with the company, which got a contract to conduct the examination and is currently outside the state 'in fear of his life'.
'I have been with the BJP for the last 24 years and will never put the party and government in problem. I got the question paper at 11:28 am on September 20 on my WhatsApp and immediately informed Pradeep Kumar sir through Gautam Mech.
'Many big people are involved in the nexus of Assam police which leaked the paper. Many corrupt Assam police officials are also there. Even one such officer is involved who was associated with secret killings,' he said on social media.
The Chairman of the State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB), which is responsible for all non-gazetted posts in Assam Police, Pradeep Kumar on September 20 had said that he received the leaked question paper on his WhatsApp at around 11:50 am.
Denying that he has a printing press where the papers were printed, Deka further stated that 'a small person' like him 'can be killed anytime' and that is why he has left Assam and is taking shelter in another state.
'When the situation will normalise, I will express everything in detail in front of the media. I request the Assam government to take responsibility for my family's safety,' he added.
The Crime Branch personnel started their operations Thursday morning at a hotel owned by Swapna Dutta, wife of ex-DIG Dutta, while the CID sleuths conducted raids whole night at the house of the retired DIG at Hengerabari locality of Guwahati.
Operations at the former senior police officer's residence began again during the afternoon on Thursday along with some other properties owned by him.
While the two organisations are tight-lipped about their findings in the search operations, sources claimed Dutta is absconding and over 5 kgs of gold along with huge amounts of documents have been seized from his house in the overnight raid.
When grilled by the media, the manager of the hotel, which was raided this morning, accepted that the property is owned by Dutta's wife and CCTVs are not working there.
'We are conducting our raids. It is going on and we have found discrepancies in their register of guests. Their CCTV is also not working,' an official at the site said.
On Wednesday night also, raids were carried by the CID in three more luxury hotels, which are purportedly owned by Dutta and his relatives.
Dozens of personnel from the two departments have expanded their scope of investigation and are also looking into the alleged huge pile up of properties, lands and tea gardens purchased by the ex-DIG across the state.
Besides, the cops on Wednesday raided a lodge, where a mock test with the leaked question paper took place a day before the scheduled examination and around 50 candidates appeared there.
Meanwhile, SLPRB Chairman Kumar denied the allegation that his wife had set the question papers of the examination.
'The examination was conducted by the SLPRB itself. We had outsourced the physical test and computer knowledge to Keltron (Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd), but they were supposed to take over after the written examination,' he added.
On September 20, the question paper of the written examination for 597 posts of unarmed sub-inspectors in Assam Police got leaked and the authorities cancelled the test minutes after it had commenced across the state.
Around 66,000 candidates had appeared for the written tests across 154 centres in all the districts.
On September 12 too, the SLPRB Chairman had issued a notice cautioning the candidates against touts after an audio clip went viral that promised a job for the sub-inspector post against payment of Rs 4 lakh cash.
The Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed Kumar to conduct the examination again within a month and asked the Director General of Police to identify the nexus, which conspired to spoil the recruitment process, and give strict punishment to the culprits as soon as possible. PTI TR SNS SNS