By OUR STAFF REPORTER
By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 12 Aug: In the UKSSSC paper leak case, the STF today arrested yet another government official. With this, the total number of arrested persons in the case has gone up to 16. The person arrested today is the second one working in the Uttarakhand Secretariat to be arrested. Hence, the involvement of more officials from the Secretariat can’t be ruled out.
Surya Pratap, resident of village Niwad Mandi in Jaspur, district Udham Singh Nagar, was arrested by the Special Task Force today. He is Additional Personal Secretary posted in the Legal and Justice Department at the Secretariat. It may be recalled that the other official arrested earlier in the paper leak scam was also posted as Additional Personal Secretary. This is considered to be a senior position. After the arrest, Surya Pratap has been presented in the court by the Uttarakhand STF and sent to judicial custody.
According to sources, the Uttarakhand STF has managed to secure strong evidence against Surya Pratap, following which he was arrested. It may be recalled that most of the arrests made in the case are from the Kumaon region. Two days ago, the STF had arrested Gaurav Chauhan, Additional Personal Secretary, posted in the Public Works and Forest Department, at the Secretariat, which was the 15th arrest in this case. Uttarakhand STF had called Gaurav Chauhan for questioning, after which he was arrested. These two arrests were made on the basis of information gathered during the interrogation of 14 accused persons arrested earlier. Once the information was gathered, the STF worked on collecting the evidence. Among those arrested also include two policemen. Apart from this, two accused are posted as junior assistants in different courts in Nainital district.
It may be recalled that the Uttarakhand Subordinate Services Selection Commission (UKSSSC) had conducted the graduate level examination in December 2021, the result of which had been declared. After that the process of certificate verification of the candidates was underway when the matter of leakage of question papers surfaced. As it became a major political issue, the investigation was soon handed over by the government to the Special Task Force (STF) of Uttarakhand Police.
STF sources further assert that the candidates who were involved in the cheating following the leakage of the question paper might also be arrested soon.
DGP Ashok Kumar has confirmed that, so far, 50 such candidates who had appeared in the Entrance Test have been found to be involved in the cheating. As per the information gathered during the investigation, Manoj Joshi and Tushar Chauhan had purchased the leaked question paper for Rs 15 lakhs, each. Rs 6 lakhs had been given by them as advance and the remaining amount of Rs 24 lakh was given after the result was declared.
A few days ago, the main accused Abhishek Verma, a data entry operator of outsourced company RMS Solutions, was also arrested by the STF. In the paper leak case of UKSSSC, STF had gone to Lucknow also with the data entry operator of Lucknow’s printing press, Abhishek Verma, on a three-day remand to collect more information and evidence in the case.
On 24 July, the STF had arrested six people in the UKSSSC paper leak case. So far, STF has arrested 16 people. The main accused Abhishek Verma’s responsibility was to seal the paper after it was printed, but he sent one set each of the three shifts to his colleagues through the Telegram app. He received Rs 36 lakh for this work. The STF had sought judicial remand of the arrested Abhishek Verma, and he is currently on a three day judicial remand.