Karnataka PSI recruitment scam: CID arrests senior IPS officer Amrit Paul

This is the first instance in Karnataka of an in-service senior IPS officer being arrested by the CID in a scam case.

BySaurav Kumar

Published Jul 04, 2022 | 8:31 PMUpdatedJan 13, 2024 | 2:52 AM

Karnataka PSI recruitment scam: CID arrests senior IPS officer Amrit Paul

In a first for Karnataka, the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested a senior police officer — Amrit Paul — on Monday, 4 July.

The Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the internal security division in Karnataka, Paul was arrested by the CID following hours of questioning.

Paul was arrested in connection with the Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) recruitment scam case.

He was taken to Bowring Hospital for medical examination, and then produced in court.

Paul was heading the recruitment division when the PSI exam scam — alleged tampering of Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets — was exposed.

In the run-up to the arrest, Paul was interrogated four times, even as the CID conducted search operations at his office.

Amrit Paul was heading the recruitment division when the PSI exam scam became public over alleged tampering of the OMR sheets.

The CID has already arrested Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shanthakumar in connection with the case.

Congress targets home minister

The opposition has taken a dig at the government over the arrest of Paul.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, former chief minister Siddaramaiah took to Twitter to demand that Home Minister Araga Jnanendra resign.

Congress MLA Priyank Kharge told South First, “It shows corruption runs deep in this government. I stand vindicated today as I have been alleging that the government is involved big-time in this, and the arrest proves it.”

He added, “I request the state government to come clean on the issue by allowing a time-bound judicial inquiry into the matter under a sitting high court judge with investigating officers without fear and favour.”

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, however, deemed the arrest an indication of a free and fair investigation.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function, he said, “The CID has been given a free hand to investigate the PSI recruitment scam. They have taken action based on evidence. Our government will act against the guilty even if it happens to be a top official.”

Bommai added, “Earlier governments did not bother to investigate even when voices were raised against such scams during their regime.”

Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson MG Mahesh told South First, “The Congress has no moral authority to question the state government. The state government itself has taken stern action against those involved in the recruitment scam. It is the first instance in recent times where the state machinery has acted against a scam.”

PSI recruitment scam

A total of 54,041 candidates appeared for the examination for recruitment to 545 police sub-inspectors posts on 3 October, 2021. The results of the exam were announced in January this year.

The recruitment scam was unearthed in April when an aspirant in the Kalaburagi district managed a 100-percent result despite attempting only 21 questions on an exam paper that had 100 of them.

An investigation shone the spotlight on 22 such candidates, all of whom appeared for the exam at the Jnana Jyothi English School in Kalaburagi city, and have since been arrested.

The school is run by Divya Hagaragi, a former BJP functionary who, too, has been arrested by the Karnataka CID in connection with the scam.

Rudragouda D Patil, an agent who allegedly collected up to ₹50 lakh from the candidates to provide answers via Bluetooth devices, was also arrested.

Patil, identified as the organiser of the PSI exam fraud, was arrested with his brother Mahantesh, a Congress leader in the Afzalpur region of Kalaburagi.

Most of the arrested candidates allegedly had their answer sheets modified at the police recruitment cell with the involvement of officials of the recruitment unit of the Karnataka Police.

Amounts ranging from ₹30 lakh to ₹80 lakh were allegedly demanded from each candidate.

On 29 April, the state government cancelled the results of the PSI examination, and the CID registered a case in this regard under the direction of the home minister.

CID officials so far have arrested over 60 people — including two DSP-rank officers, an inspector, the 22 candidates, and the topper of the PSI exam who allegedly had links to the middlemen and officials to get access to the OMR sheet filled up after submission.