Guwahati, Sep 30 (PTI) Assam's BJP Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday termed the question paper leak in state police recruitment examination as a 'scam', which is in contrast to the party's stand of calling it an 'anomaly'.
Question papers of several exams under various governments have been leaked in the state since 1952 but this for the first time that the administration has acted so expeditiously and transparently to institute an inquiry, Sonowal said.
His statement came hours after the state Congress alleged that the Chief Ministers Office and BJP leaders were involved in the scandal and Sonowal should resign.
Four more persons were arrested in connection with the scam, taking the total nabbed to 24. The police have also announced a reward of Rs one lakh for any information leading to the arrest of each of the two key accused - ex-DIG P K Dutta and BJP leader Diban Deka.
'Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that state government has instituted an inquiry into the sub-inspector (unarmed branch) recruitment scam as the investigating agency has been asked to conduct the inquiry impartially without any compromise,' a release from the Chief Minister's Office said.
At an official function here, he also said that the police would definitely track all the persons accused in the 'scam' and arrest them.
Addressing a press conference on September 27, state BJP Chief Spokesperson Rupam Goswami had said, 'The paper leak of the police examination is not a scam, but an anomaly only.' Goswami's statement evoked sharp reactions from different quarters. Political parties and activists alleged that the BJP-led government in the state is trying to hush up the episode, which has taken place about six months before the Assembly polls.
Sonowal also said that once the findings of the investigation are out, all aspects of the scam will come to the fore.
'He also maintained that the inquiry ordered into the scam was not the result of any complaint. Within 15 minutes of the reported leak of question papers, the state government has cancelled the examination, the CMO release said.
The question paper of the written examination for 597 posts of unarmed sub-inspectors in Assam Police got leaked on September 20, and the test was cancelled minutes after it had commenced across the state.
'In sync with the state government's principle of 'zero-tolerance' against corruption, Chief Minister Sonowal said that no leniency or compromise would be tolerated in the inquiry process, the release said.
Meanwhile, the Nalbari district police arrested three more persons and the Guwahati Police's Crime Branch nabbed one accused, senior officials of the respective forces told PTI.
The Congress' Assam unit alleged that Chief Minister's Office was involved in the police recruitment question paper leak scam and demanded resignation of Sonowal.
Rajya Sabha MP and state Congress president Ripun Bora claimed that the name of a lady stenographer of an OSD in the CM's office is coming up in the scandal, but she has not been interrogated as of now.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) also recently alleged that the entire scandal is a result of a 'nexus between the CM, BJP and the RSS', and so a probe by the CBI or a sitting high court judge, instead of the ongoing police investigation, is necessary to unearth the truth.
Diban Deka, a key accused who identified himself as the National Executive Member of the BJP's Kisan Morcha in Facebook said in a post on September 24 that he was involved with the examination process and 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.
Eight days before the recruitment examination, the State Level Police Recruitment Board that conducts the test had also issued a notice cautioning candidates against touts after an audio clip that promised job in sub-inspector posts against a payment of Rs 4 lakh in cash went viral. PTI TR NN NN