Guwahati: The Assam government’s move to promote 13 “erring” junior grade APS officers to Senior APS Grade-II (Additional SP rank) has sparked a sharp reaction.

These APS officers allegedly indulged in malpractices in the civil service examinations 2012 (CCE-2013) conducted by Assam Public Service Commission (APSC).

According to an Assam Home Department notification dated November 11, a total of 36 APS junior grade officers were promoted to APS senior grade II (ASP rank) with immediate effect.

Out of these 36 officers, the Justice (retired) Biplab Kumar Sharma commission, which probed the alleged anomalies in the CCE-2013, in its report accused 13 APS officers of indulging in misconduct in exams, who have now been promoted as Additional SP (APS senior grade II) .

These 13 ‘erring’ APS officers, who have been promoted as ASP are- Kalyan Kumar Das, Kulapradeep Bhattacharya, Nitumani Das, Sukanya Das, Rumi Timugpi, Aoicharya Jibon Baruah, Rituraj Doley, Amit Raj Choudhury, Faruk Ahmed, Anal Jyoti Das,  Nabanita Sharma, Shahjahan Sarkar and Nandini Kakati.

“Erring” APS officer Nandini Kakati at the Pipping Ceremony of newly promoted ASPs in Guwahati. Image credit: Facebook

The Assam government’s decision to promote the “tainted” APS officers who passed in 2013 triggered widespread reactions on social media.

Many social media users have raised questions as to why Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who talks about zero tolerance policy against graft, has “awarded” the 13 ‘scam tainted’ officers instead of taking action against them.

“The probe panel submitted its report in April this year.  For over seven months now, Assam government is sitting on the report without taking any action against the ‘erring’ APS officers,” said a Twitter user.

“The Assam government has cleverly ignored the investigation report of the judicial commission,” said another user.

The Justice (retired) Biplab Kumar Sharma commission, which was formed following directions from Gauhati high court, submitted its report in April this year on the anomalies in CCE-2013.

After the promotion order was issued on November 11, Manas Pratim Baruah, admin of the Twitter handle, Fight Against Injustice of APSC, strongly reacted and said that the government’s hypocrisy in the name of anti-corruption stance is exposed.

In May this year, the Assam government constituted a committee to decide on the action to be taken in connection with the inquiry report submitted by Justice (Retired) Biplab Kr Sarma relating to the conduct of civil service examinations 2012 (CCE-2013).

Though the report is yet to be made public, the commission’s findings are stated to detail irregularities in the answer sheets of many candidates who were declared successful, allegedly in lieu of cash.

The Assam government set up a five-member panel to examine the report of the inquiry commission regarding malpractices in the conduct of CCE-2013 by APSC.

The panel was asked to examine the inquiry commission report and suggest whether the entire results of the CCE-2013 be set aside and in case such a recommendation is made, whether the candidates would be entitled to notice and consequential hearings following the basic principles of natural justice.

The committee was asked to submit its report within two months. However, it has not submitted its recommendations even after five months now.  

The APSC cash-for-job scam came to light in 2016 when several successful candidates including Assam Civil Service (ACS) and Assam Police Service (APS) officers who appeared in CCE, 2013 were alleged to have indulged in misconduct allegedly in collusion with the then APSC chairman Rakesh Paul.

Following the revelations, police arrested 60 serving ACS & APS officers from the CCE, 2013 batch.

After the detection of anomalies, 39 officers were also dismissed. While the terminated officers are out on bail, Rakesh Paul, who was arrested in 2016, is still behind the bars.

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