Unrest and anxiety are mounting in power circles after Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami directed the cancellation of government recruitment examinations where irregularities are detected and bring all culprits to book after fast-tracking the investigations. He issued this order while holding a high-level review meeting regarding the recruitment scam in Uttarakhand Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UKSSSC) on Wednesday.
A highly-placed source in the state government said, “After swift action, including 22 arrests, in the UKSSSC scam, in which involvement of government employees and officials was found, there has been a feeling of unease among many high profile officials as well as politicians. More shocking revelations can come to the fore. It is like a can of worms.”
Interestingly, one of the accused, Hakam Singh Rawat, apparently the mastermind of the UKSSSC paper leak and is a district panchayat member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is believed to have close ties with the senior leaders of the party, including the former CM Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Hakam Singh wielded such influence that the government allowed the use of its chopper to airlift his ailing mother in 2018. Allegations of using money from State Disaster Management Relief Fund for medical treatment of his mother have also been levelled against him.
The CM, in the review meeting of the UKSSSC scam, emphasized that the investigation should be expedited at the earliest and the culprits should be identified and arrested as well as illegal properties confiscated. Action should be taken under the Gangster Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, Dhami underlined. “The examinations, through which the tainted persons have got appointments, should be cancelled and action taken against them as per rules.”
“For the smooth running of UKSSC, a chairman should be appointed at the earliest. The intention of the government is to fill the vacancies in all departments in a clean and transparent manner as soon as possible,” said the CM.
Last week, the Special Task Force (STF) was told to investigate two more government recruitment examinations to ascertain if there were any anomalies or discrepancies.
The STF will now investigate the secretariat guard and junior assistant (Judicial) examinations conducted earlier. The force will also probe the Uttarakhand Forest Guard Recruitment Exam, which was conducted in 2020.
Taking swift action into the investigation of the UKSSSC graduate 2021 paper leak case, the STF has arrested 22 people, so far. The police have also traced 50 candidates who appeared in the exams conducted by the commission in December 2021 using the leaked paper.
The commission conducted the graduation-level examination on December 4-5 2021 in three shifts in which around 160,000 candidates appeared and 916 of them were selected.
So far, Rs 83 lakh in cash has been recovered as well as suspicious bank accounts used by other accused frozen and mobile phones and laptops have also been seized.