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HC orders CBI probe against Assam Public Service Commission chief

Guwahati: The Guwahati High Court on Thursday ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry against Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul, his wife and relatives regarding possession of alleged disproportionate assets.
However, the high court made it clear that the Central Bureau of Investigation shall not arrest Paul during the preliminary inquiry though he can be interrogated. Upon completion of the inquiry, the CBI shall submit a report to the court.
The directions from a division bench of Chief Justice (acting) K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice P.K. Saikia came during the hearing of a public interest litigation by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a peasants’ rights body.
The PIL alleged that Paul illegally issued appointments to many undeserving candidates in lieu of money while meritorious students were rejected in the state civil service and allied services examinations.
The court asked the CBI to inquire into the assets of Paul, his wife Sunanda Paul, brother Rajeev Paul and driver Sanjay Saha, in whose name Paul allegedly procured many properties.
Sources said the high court was not satisfied with the affidavit filed by Paul in reply to an affidavit of Mukul Saikia, Superintendent of Police, vigilance and anti-corruption, wherein details of the assets of the aforementioned persons were specified.
Saikia in his affidavit earlier told the court that preliminary investigation revealed that Paul bought properties in the name of his wife, brother and driver in different places in Guwahati.
Senior advocates and amicus curiae P.K. Tiwari and Bhaskar Dev Konwar contended that only a preliminary inquiry by the CBI would restore public confidence in a constitutional post like the APSC chairman.
It was submitted that no prejudice would be caused to the accused as he would get full opportunity to rebut corruption charges without any threat of arrest.