The Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) was established on April 1, 1937 to select meritorious students for important bureaucratic duties through competitive examinations. The APSC came into existence in accordance with the provision of the Govt. of India Act, 1935 with James Hezelett, a retired ICS officer from London, as its first Chairman. Over the years, APSC had established itself as one of the most prestigious institutions of the State with noted personalities like Satyen Borkotoky, Rathin Sen, Ranen Basumatary serving as its Chairman.
Cut to 2016. Rakesh Paul, the serving Chairman of APSC is arrested by a team of Dibrugarh police, led by additional superintendent of police (security) Surjeet Singh Panesar, arrested him from his office at Khanapara for his alleged involvement in a cash-for-jobs scam. While corruption in APSC was going since a long time, the arrest of Paul actually completed a cycle.
The cycle of corruption in APSC
The rot inside APSC started when rather than appointing the best person for the job, political parties started recruiting their stooges as the Chairman. Before Paul, serious corruption charges came up against another APSC Chairman Tara Prasad Das. Legend has it that when police had raided the residence of Das, out of desperation he burnt his stash of cash in the bathroom. Following the arrest of Das, huge hue and cry was raised in the media. A committee led by M P Bezbaruah was formed to revamp the institution. However, the earlier governments didn’t implement the recommendations of the committee. So, the cycle continued and taking advantage of its inherent corruption, many incompetent officials bagged important bureaucratic positions, thanks to the power of money.
Sarbananda Sonowal’s government has shown a tough stance against corruption and arrest of Paul is a welcome step. However, there should also be a probe to identify all those officials, who have helped Paul to run his empire of corruption and all the middlemen. It is said that if corruption is a disease, then transparency is its cure. So, we need a more transparent recruitment process to eliminate this malice of corruption.