The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday conducted raids simultaneously on 33 locations across India in connection with the investigation into irregularities in the selection of over 1200 Sub Inspectors for the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The officers whose premises were searched in the second operation of the series on Tuesday include the former Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) Khalid Jehangir and Controller of Examinations Ashok Kumar.
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According to official sources, searches were conducted simultaneously at 33 places in Jammu, Srinagar (J&K), Karnal, Mahendergarh, Rewari,(Haryana), Gandhinagar (Gujarat), Delhi, Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Bengaluru (Karnataka).
This is the second series of the searches since 8 July 2022 when Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, on the findings and recommendations of a high level departmental inquiry, cancelled the selection list of over 1200 Sub Inspectors and ordered CBI investigation into the whole scandal. The examination for selection of SIs was conducted by JKSSB on 27 March and the results were declared on 4 June 2022.
Taking cognizance of a deluge of complaints from the unsuccessful candidates, media and other quarters, who asked how multiple children of at least a dozen families had been picked up in Jammu, Akhnoor and Samba areas of Jammu, LG Sinha ordered a high level departmental inquiry headed by Financial Commissioner Home Raj Kumar Goyal. It established irregularities in the selection and recommended its cancellation and fresh process besides a thorough investigation for criminal determination by the CBI.
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Sinha subsequently extended the inquiry to the selection of Accounts Assistants in J&K Government’s Finance Department and Junior Engineers in Jal Shakti Department. On recommendation of the panel of bureaucrats, headed by Goyal, LG later ordered cancellation of these two selections as well.
Following registration of FIR, the CBI booked a Medical Officer of the Border Security Force (Frontier Headquarters) Dr Karnail Singh, one Assistant Sub Inspector of J&K Police, Ashok Kumar and a former official of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Avinash Gupta, owner of ‘EDUMAX Classes, Akhnoor, Akshay Kumar, Manager of ‘EDUMAX Classes, Roshan Bral, teacher, Narayan Dutt, then member Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service (JKAS), Bishan Dass, then Under Secretary, JKSSB, Anju Raina, then Section Officer, JKSSB and different officials of Bengaluru-based firm MeritTrac Services Private Limited were also named as accused in the case.
“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 in a press release after the first raids on 5 August.
Parallel to the CBI investigation, LG Sinha’s government has removed and replaced JKSSB’s Chairman Khalid Jehangir who is a senior officer of the JKAS and had already been posted as Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara, Controller of Examinations Ashok Kumar, Secretary and all the members. While speaking to India Narrative, Jehangir welcomed the CBI investigation. “There’s a possibility of the leakage of question papers by a countrywide mafia at the printing stage. I’m sure the CBI probe will make everything crystal clear”, Jehangir said after the first raids.