(Eds: Updating with new inputs) Guwahati, Sep 28 (PTI) Seven more people were apprehended in connection with the Assam police recruitment exam question paper leak, taking the total nabbed to 20, said DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, announcing a reward of Rs one lakh each for any information leading to the arrest of each of the two key accused - an ex-DIG and a BJP leader.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also reconstituted the State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) that conducts the test appointing Mahanta as its new chairman, and directed it to complete the written examination, cancelled on September 20 following the question paper leak, within November 20.
Addressing a press conference for the first time after the scam was detected, the director general of police said that any person, irrespective of his political affiliation or position, will be arrested if found involved in leaking of question paper of the examination for recruiting unarmed sub- inspectors.
'We are looking to arrest ex-DIG P K Dutta and (senior BJP leader) Diban Deka. They are absconding. We have decided to announce a reward for catching them, Mahanta said.
A statement by the police later said that a reward of Rs one lakh each has been announced for any information leading to the arrest of Dutta and Deka, who identified himself as the National Executive Member of the BJP's Kisan Morcha on his Facebook page.
Officials of the CID, Guwahati Police and the Assam Police, who were present at the DGPs press conference, gave the arrest figures from their respective divisions related to the case, which has rocked the state with the opposition alleging the BJP's direct involvement in it.
The Assam Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested four persons, while the Guwahati Police's Crime Branch nabbed nine. The Nalbari district police have also arrested six persons for their alleged role in the scandal, they told reporters.
One more person, who was on the run, surrendered and was arrested in connection with the case.
Talking about the two prime accused, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh said, 'We have issued a lookout notice against Dutta so that he cannot leave the country. All the relevant information has been disseminated about him.' Singh also said that a separate case will be registered against his unaccounted wealth, while the Assam Police already intimated the Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence about his long list of properties running into several hundred crores of rupees across the state and outside.
Dutta has at least four luxury hotels and several residential properties in Guwahati, 1,600 bighas of land in Cachar district, apartments in Dibrugarh and other parts of the country, he added.
CID Inspector General Surendra Kumar said that during searches at Dutta's house and hotels, huge amounts of documents related to the examinations, 1.522 kg of gold and a pistol, the license of which has expired, were seized.
Sources had earlier said that Dutta's driver and one bodyguard were arrested in connection with the case.
Deka had on Thursday said in a Facebook post that he was involved with the examination process but now he has 'left Assam' as he might be 'killed anytime' because 'many big and corrupt officials' of Assam Police are involved in the scam.
State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) Chairman Pradeep Kumar, who resigned on Sunday taking moral responsibility for the irregularities, earlier said that he had registered the case with the CID taking Deka and another person along with him to the CID headquarters.
When asked why Deka was not apprehended then, Singh said: 'When Pradeep Kumar took Diban Deka to the CID, he was a complainant at that time. His name was not in the FIR. Only during investigation, it came up that he is also one accused.
Meanwhile, Kuldeep Rajbongshi, one of the persons arrested from Nalbari apparently has connections with the ruling BJP and his pictures with senior party leaders have gone viral in the last few days.
The DGP said that cases in connection with the scam have been registered in districts such as Karbi Anglong, Lakhimpur and Nalbari.
Meanwhile, following the resignation of retired IPS officer Pradeep Kumar as chairman of the SLPRB on Sunday, the chief minister reconstituted it, appointing the DGP as its new chief.
Besides, ADGP Harmeet Singh was nominated as its member secretary and ADGP L R Bishnoi and IGP Hiren Nath were made members of the Board, an official release said.
Chief Minister Sonowal directed the Board to complete the written examination within November 20 in the most transparent manner ensuring no anomaly takes place in the recruitment process.
On September 20, the question paper of the written examination for 597 posts of unarmed sub-inspectors in Assam Police got leaked and the SLPRB cancelled the test minutes after it had commenced.
Around 66,000 candidates had appeared for the written tests across 154 centres across the state. PTI TR ESB NN NN