New Delhi/Srinagar: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday conducted multiple searches at 33 locations, including the premises of former chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) Khalid Jahangir, in connection with the alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of sub-inspectors in the Union Territory police force.
According to the probe agency officials, the house of JKSSB's controller of examinations Ashok Kumar, some officials of the J&K police, including a DSP were also raided in this case.
The searches spread across Jammu, Srinagar in the Union Territory; Karnal, Mahendergarh, Rewari in Haryana; Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Delhi, Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and Bengaluru in Karnataka, they said.
This was the second round of searches conducted by the CBI in connection with its probe into alleged irregularities, the officials further added. During the earlier raids in August, the CBI conducted searches at 30 locations in J&K and Bengaluru in the case.
The CBI had registered a case on August 3 on the request of J&K government against 33 accused, including then medical officer, BSF Frontier Hqrs, Paloura; then member, JKSSB; then under secretary and section officer both of JKSSB; ex official of CRPF; ASI of J&K police; owner of a coaching centre in Akhnoor; private company based in Bengaluru; private persons and unknown others on the allegations of irregularities in written examination for the posts of sub-inspectors in the J&K police conducted by JKSSB on March 3 this year.
"The CBI registered a case on the request of the Jammu and Kashmir administration against 33 accused... on the allegations of irregularities in the written examination for the posts of sub-inspectors in the J&K police on March 27 conducted by JKSSB," the Central probe agency said on August 5 after the registration of an FIR.
On June 4, the JKSSB announced the list of 1,200 successful candidates. Over 97,000 people took the exam for the positions. However, shortly after the results were announced online, unsuccessful candidates staged protests, accusing the recruitment agency of indulging in fraudulent means of selection.
The investigation revealed the alleged payment of nearly Rs 20 to Rs 30 lakh by willing candidates and their families to the accused for accessing the question paper before the commencement of the examination. In this regard, the involvement of a gang in Haryana, certain teachers in J&K, some serving/retired personnel of the CRPF, J&K police and JKSSB has allegedly come to light.
Soon after the alleged irregularities surfaced in the recruitment process, the J&K administration constituted an inquiry committee to look into the charges.
"It was alleged that the accused entered in conspiracy amongst officials of JKSSB, Bengaluru-based private company, beneficiary candidates and others and caused gross irregularities in the conduct of written examination for the posts of sub-inspectors. It was further alleged that there was an abnormally high percentage of selected candidates from Jammu, Rajouri and Samba districts," the CBI said.
"JKSSB had allegedly violated rules in outsourcing the setting of question papers to a Bengaluru-based private company," the probe agency had earlier said.
Meanwhile, J&K lieutenant-governor, Manoj Sinha, has reassured that all the accused will be identified and booked under the relevant provisions of the law, even if they have gone underground to evade arrest.
"Gone are the days when backdoor appointments used to take place. Today a cart seller’s son or daughter can also get a government job. Efforts are afoot to put in place a transparent governance system," he said, and added, "All the guilty will be brought to book. Even if they are hiding in a fortress, we will bring them to justice."