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APPSC paper leakage fiasco snowballs into a major crisis

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Itagar, January 8: Irked over the non–responsive attitude of the state government in resolving the Aruchal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) paper leakage mess, the adamant aspirants today resorted to 72–hour hunger strike to press their demand for dissolution of the present Commission. Even as the state government had already instituted a magisterial inquiry into the anomaly and forwarded the report to the Commission for action, the aspirants were not satisfied with the action taken and had demanded intervention of the President on the issue.

The state government had ordered a magisterial enquiry in question paper leakage pertaining to General Studies Paper–II of the Aruchal Pradesh Public Service Combined Competitive Examitions (APPSCCE) (Mains 2014) and appointed a senior APCS officer Hento Karga to enquire into the matter of alleged leakage of question paper.

The enquiry report as submitted by magistrate broadly recommended for cancellation of the said paper and to conduct examition along with other left out papers as soon as possible.

The report also recommended to start crimil proceeding against persons involved by registration of a crimil case and for suspension of four senior officers of the Commission till submission of prelimiry report of either police investigation or enquiry officers under CCS conducts rules.

Personnel, administrative reforms and training commissioner K R Mee in a statement yesterday informed that the state cabinet had thoroughly considered the matter of the enquiry report and sent it to the Commission who as a follow–up suspended four officials mely Nima Tondrang, Joint Secretary, Bate Koyu, Deputy Secretary, Debhashish Dey, Private Secretary to Chairman and S Bhattacharjee, Persol Assistant to Joint Secretary.

"The state government has posted a senior IAS Officer, Ashok Kumar as Secretary to APPSC, Rupak Boje as joint secretary–cum–controller of examition and Tayi Taggu as deputy secretary APPSC to smoothly carryout the work of the Commission," the statement said. It is also worth to mention that the post September 2014, two new members of APPSC have been appointed and the Commission now has the strength of 4 members including Chairman APPSC. One vacancy of member APPSC would filled up shortly which would provide three new members out of the total members of 5. Based on the recommendation of magisterial enquiry report, the Commission may take appropriate decision at its level for conducting examition.  The state government has provided the necessary man power for conducting the examitions, he said adding, the cabinet had also decided to initiate crimil proceedings against the person involved in the matter through Special Investigation Team (SIT).

"The government directed DGP to constitute a SIT to further investigate the matter. The SIT is constituted and it has registered a regular FIR in the matter and investigation is already commenced," he said. The Cabinet has also assessed whether or not a presidential reference is required under Article 317 of the Constitution of India as warranted against any of the members of APPSC on the basis of the report of the Enquiry Magistrate.

However, it is found that despite some adverse observations, no direct or indirect evidence of corruption or persol negligence on the part of any of the member of APPSC is found by the Magisterial Enquiry Report and therefore, at this stage no convincing evidence is forthcoming to recommend for a decision for removal of any member of APPSC under article 317 of the Constitution of India, the statement pointed out.

On the basis of the finding of the SIT, the government would take further appropriate decision on the matter as may be required, he added.

Meanwhile, the Aruchal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) today expressed serious concerns over the issue and conveyed its solidarity with the aggrieved civil service aspirants saying that they are the future of the state and therefore their grievances must be resolved immediately by the government and the authorities concerned.

"While we appeal the aggrieved aspirants to maintain restraint and not resort to extreme measures of agitation like hunger–strike, we request the esteemed office of the Aruchal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) not to remain mute spectators to the ongoing agitation," APCC spokesman Hayeng Mangfi said in a statement.

"Continuation of the confrontation will only take the crisis deeper and ultimately deprive hundreds of qualified and eligible youths who had been preparing for the prestigious examition for years. At this juncture, the party is of the suggestion that the incumbent team of APPSC may voluntarily tender their resigtions and diffuse the tension lest it turns into a major law and order problem," he said.

The Party feels that tendering resigtion will in no way lower their dignity but instead keep the sanctity of the Commission in place. Keeping the faith of the youths on the Commission should be the top most priority at the moment. The Party also appealed the state government to intervene and resolve the crisis and re–conduct the examition immediately for the benefit of the youths, the statement added.

Extending its moral support to the agitating aspirants, the All Nyishi Students Union (ANSU) today in a communiqué said that the issue must not be prolonged anymore and a solution to the controversy arrived immediately.

"For the interest of hundreds of civil service aspirants as well as to maintain the dignity and sanctity of the Commission, the Union appeals the sitting chairman and members to own moral responsibility for the crisis and voluntarily resign from their respective posts so that investigations into the issue by the SIT is conducted in a fair and impartial manner," the communiqué said. The Union is of the view that prolonging the issue is not going to benefit anyone including the Commission, the aspirants, the government as well as the civil society. There may also be chances that people may politicize the issue and hijack it for political mileage.

Therefore, the union demands voluntary resigtion of the Commission’s chairman and members for the good of all paving way for a new Commission to conduct the civil services examition 2013–14 afresh, it said. "The government should also give one–time relaxation of one year in age eligibility for benefit of those aspirants who may go over–age without getting a chance to sit for the examition due to the controversy," the union added.

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Ankur Kalita

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