'Strange coincidence' grenade blast took place on day tainted officials arrested: Assam DGP

'Strange coincidence' grenade blast took place on day tainted officials arrested: Assam DGP

Guwahati, Nov 23 (PTI) Assam Director General of Police G P Singh said it was a 'strange coincidence' that a grenade blast took place outside an Army camp on the day officials accused in APSC 'cash-for-jobs' scam were arrested, indicating that the explosion was an attempt to 'divert attention' from the investigation.

Two motorcycle-borne men lobbed a grenade outside the gates of an Army camp at Dirak in Tinsukia district on Wednesday. No casualties, however, were reported in the incident.

The same day, police arrested two Assam Public Service (APS) officials allegedly involved in the 'cash-for-jobs' scam in the combined civil service examinations conducted by the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC). Another official was detained on Thursday.

'It is a strange coincidence that the day the Assam government and @assampolice starts taking revitalised action on APSC scam, there is a minor blast by miscreants in Tinsukia district of Assam. This looks like an attempt to draw attention of senior leadership of police away from APSC scam investigation. Such miscreants and organisations would always try to stifle efforts to improve Assam,' the DGP posted on X.

'We would identify and punish perpetrators of this, and all such attempts that are made to divert our attention from improving our state. We remain committed to reach the bottom of the scam and punish all who are involved in it,' he added.

In connection with the blast, the police have so far arrested one person who claimed that an ULFA(I) militant was involved in the incident, another official said, adding a manhunt has been launched to nab him.

Meanwhile, the state government has already initiated departmental proceedings against 34 tainted officials of the 2013 APS batch whose names found mention in the report submitted by the Justice B K Sarma Committee, probing the 'cash-for-jobs' scam.

Similarly, action was initiated against candidates of the 2014 batch who were allegedly selected by unfair means with their marks changed during the tabulation process.

The state government has so far dismissed 57 people who were selected for the civil services in 2013 and 2014.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had directed the DGP to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) in September this year to investigate the scam.

The SIT, headed by Additional Director General of Police (CID) Munna Prasad Gupta, has been directed to submit its report within six months to Gauhati High Court in a sealed envelope.

The APSC was embroiled in a 'cash-for-jobs' scam and the Assam Police arrested nearly 70 people, including former APSC chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul and 57 civil services officials since 2016.

Paul was arrested by Dibrugarh Police in November 2016 and released on bail in March this year.

The 'cash-for-jobs' scam came to light in 2016 during investigations by the Assam Police. PTI DG DG ACD

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