There are institutions in every country that are of great importance to the proper and efficient running of its administration. These institutions may not exactly be a part of the government, but they are certainly vital organizations that make for better governce. One such organization is the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the different State
public service commissions that are modelled on the UPSC and have similar functions at the State level. They are all entrusted with the task of conducting examitions for selection and recruitment of suitable officers in different services and departments and of recruiting such officers to the administrative, police and other services of the States, just as UPSC does for the Centre. As such, any harm or disservice done to any of the State public service commissions constitutes an inimical act to the State and its people, not to speak of the government itself. That is precisely what has happened the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC). One greedy and corrupt chairman of the APSC and a couple of similar members have been enough to destroy an organization that we should have been able to look after we great care and pride considering its important role in ensuring the selection of good, honest and efficient officers who would eventually play vital roles in the governce of the State. Any attempt to destroy such organizations should turally be regarded as treasoble action that that ought to receive the most stringent punishment.
That Rakesh Paul, the latest chairman of the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) was an unfortute choice to head such an august organization had become clear to most people who were aware of his questioble style of functioning and of the fact that he was probably selling government jobs for persol profit. Unfortutely, Tarun Gogoi, the former Chief Minister of Assam took no action to remove him from the chairmanship of such an important organization despite representations from several organizations and individuals for his removal. On the contrary, Tarun Gogoi gave the distinct impression of going out of the way to protect an allegedly corrupt head of the APSC who had given the organization a bad me. Proof about the crimil activities of Rakesh Paul came in the most unexpected way. One of his agents, an engineer posted in Dibrugarh, demanded and received a bribe of Rs 10 lakh from a lady on the assurance that he would secure a dental surgeon’s job for her. The lady alerted the police before parting with the bribe. The engineer was interrogated by the police and soon divulged highly damaging information about APSC chairman Rakesh Paul and one or two members of the Commission. He also revealed that he had already passed on sums exceeding Rs 2.5 crore to Paul and that there were other agents like him engaged in the same nefarious business. The Dibrugarh investigations swiftly lead to the arrest of Rakesh Paul by a police team from Dibrugarh and led to the most fruitful interrogations of the APSC chief. The police quickly gathered information about the numerous houses, apartments, plots of land and other assets that Rakesh Paul had maged to amass within just a few years. During his interrogation he also revealed his modus operandi of conducting examitions secretly at the residence of his brother and elsewhere, and of even helping candidates from whom he had collected huge sums of money to write their examition papers. It was also revealed that he had sold several hundred jobs in about four years. Paul also revealed the mes of his associates and collaborators. One of his alleged collaborators and a member of the APSC, Samedur Rahman has been absconding. So has Rakesh Paul’s brother.
True, this is not the first time that such things have happened to State public service commissions. Many years ago, something similar happened to the Punjab Public Service Commission. However the guilty were swiftly punished. In any case, this reprehensible precedent was hardly something worth emulating. But unfortutely, Assam has not been short of greedy and corrupt chairmen of the APSC. We had a similar one in the past who even maged to win an election to the State Assembly after his removal. Here was a case of a section of our electorate actually choosing a corrupt and discredited chairmen of a highly respected organization as their elected representative instead of condemning and rejecting him for blackening the fair me of the APSC. Such electoral preferences work as the worst kind of incentives for corrupt people like Rakesh Paul who really deserve to have all their ill-gotten assets confiscated by the State in addition to being given a long term in prison.