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APSC scam is an acid test for Assam CM Sonowal
The arresting of 22 recently recruited officials in Assam, who allegedly secured jobs of the Assam Public Service Commission two years before, reflects how root of corruption pervaded and dominated the constitutional body for quite sometime.

The officials have been arrested since November 7 among whom one is son of a former Congress minister and another one is a relative of MoS (Rail) Rajen Gohain.

Established in 1937, the APSC remained unblemished till 1980s.Unfortunately, the Commission under the chairmanship of Rakesh Paul, who is currently lodged in jail, has lost all of its past glory as reportedly huge job-related scams came into light after the BJP-led regime formed government in the state.

Indeed, the current step to up-root corruption in the Commission could be rightly construed as a never-seen-before action in the history of the post-independent India.

What is mentionable is that allegation against the APSC is not new. The Commission has drawn flak many a times in the last two and a half decades also. However, corruption touched highest level when Dr Taraprasad Das was its chairman. Interestingly, anti-corruption agency, based on allegations of some deprived candidates, in 1997 seized more than 80 lakh rupees from the secret coffers of Dr Das. Surprisingly, the then Asom Gana Parishad-led government remained indifferent towards the allegation leveled against the Commission. Even, the Gauhati High Court did not take strong note against the alleged malpractices of the Commission.

Not only that, allegation of malpractice against the Commission was also leveled in 2010 after it held, after a gap of eight years, Combined Competitive Examinations to select ACS, APS and allied services officers. At that time Geeta Basumatary headed the Commission.

Despite the current step against the corruption in the APSC draws appreciation of all but some questions regarding the ongoing enquiry are yet to be addressed.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti(KMSS), a farmers' organisation which has been vocal against the Commission's malpractices since 2015, alleged that some influential persons, against whom enquiry is yet to be announced, were also involved with the scam. The Farmers' outfit, demanding enquiry has dragged the names of the state's influential minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who defected from the Congress to the BJP in 2015; the All Assam Students' Union's chief adviser Samujjal Kr Bhattachayya; BJP MLA Gurujyoti Das; the ruling party leader Chikimiki Talukdar and some others in the scam .

Meanwhile, the KMSS has published a list of successful candidates in the APSC's Civil Service Examination held in 2013-15 alleging that the latter got the selection at the instances of some influential persons like minister Sarma or AASU chief adviser Bhattacharrya.

It can be mentioned that the state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal once headed the AASU as its president when Samujjal Kr Bhattacharrya was the general secretary of the organisation. So, he might have a good relationship with Bhattacharrya.

Similarly, Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was as majority political analysts believe, instrumental in the victory of the BJP-led regime in the 2016 state Assembly election, has been considered as most influential minister of the Sonowal cabinet like his previous tenure as a minister in former Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government . As such, the investigation into the APSC's cash-for-jobs scam, as many pointed out, may not be satisfactory for some like KMSS.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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