The retired justice Biplab Kumar Sharma Commission will be submitting its report on anomalies and malpractices in the conduct of Combined Competitive Exam (CCE) of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) 2014 within a week.
The Commission was earlier given an extended deadline of October 15, 2023 by the Gauhati High Court to submit its report to the state government.
Speaking to the media about the development, Justice (Retired) Biplab Kumar Sharma said, “I did my part of the job. As directed by the government, I have enquired into all the references regarding the anomalies and malpractices in conduct of the CCE 2014 and now it is up to the government how will they take it from here.”
It may be mentioned that earlier the state government had established a one-man judicial inquiry commission, led by retired Gauhati High Court Judge Justice Biplab Kumar Sharma, to investigate claims of irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) CCE 2013 test.
Following which, in the month of April 2, 2022, the Commission submitted its report. Subsequently, the government requested that the Justice Biplab Kumar Sharma Commission investigate the claims of irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the CCE 2014.
According to sources, the CCE 2013 report detailed the abnormalities and malpractices that occurred during the exam's execution. The incorrect selection technique of 34+3=37 candidates was expressly identified in the report.
Not only this, the Justice (Retired) Biplab Kumar Sharma Commission also voiced concerns in its report concerning the appointment of the then-APSC chairman, Rakesh Paul. The Commission recommended in its report that, if the government thought it appropriate given the widespread irregularities and malpractices in CCE 2013, it should scrap the selection of the entire CCE 2013 batch. The Commission had cited a Supreme Court decision in a similar case.
The Commission cited the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) report and other documents as proof of the incorrect selection procedure of the 34+3=37 candidates. These 37 applicants have remained beyond the scope of the Dibrugarh Police inquiry. According to sources, many of these 37 people were promoted to various positions after the Justice (retired) Biplab Kumar Sharma Commission published its report on CCE 2013, and all of the candidates are still in service.
On October 1, 2023, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated that the previous Investigating Officer (IO) did not send the answer books of 34 candidates, who appeared in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) examination.
Thereafter, a PIL was filed before the Gauhati High Court and accordingly, the Court questioned why some of the candidates remained outside the purview of the police investigation. As a result, the government formed a Special probe Team (SIT) to conduct a thorough probe.
While speaking to the reporters on the formation of the Special Investigating Team (SIT), CM Sarma said, “I was unaware that the former Investigating Officer failed to send the answer books of 34 applicants who took the APSC exam in 2013-14 to forensics since I was not monitoring the inquiry because it was independent and I did not want to interfere. However, when the High Court raised the issue, I learned that the investigating officer did not send the answer booklets of these candidates to forensics. The state administration will now forward these answer books to forensics.”
The chief minister indicated that action will be taken against those found guilty. He said, “No one is our relative so if they are found guilty, proper action will be taken against them.”
Speaking on the recommendation of the Biplab Sharma Commission, CM Sarma further state that the Biplab Sharma Commission claimed that there might be more candidates other than the 34 candidates who also secured their job through unfair means. Owing to this reason, the commission suggested removing all the candidates who appeared in the 2013-14 search APSC examination from their jobs, however, it is difficult to take such a big decision as among them, there are a few candidates who secured their place through hard work and dedication.”
He further informed that the government is waiting for the second report from the commission adding that if the same recommendation is stated in the second report, then the government will have to reconsider the matter by making either-or decision.