The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has rejected the bail application of a police officer and his son who were arrested by the CBI last year in connection with the police sub-inspector recruitment scam.
Justice Mohan Lal dismissed the joint bail application moved by Assistant Sub-Inspector Ashok Kumar and his son Jaisuriya Sharma, terming it “misconceived under law”.
The police officer and his son were arrested on November 6 and 9, respectively, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for their alleged active role in the recruitment scam and were among 33 persons charge-sheeted by the central probe agency on November 12 last year.
The Jammu and Kashmir Services Selection Board (JKSSB) conducted the recruitment examination in March but the list of 1,200 selected candidates, along with that of 1,300 junior engineers and 1,000 finance account assistants, was cancelled by the administration in July following allegations of paper leak and malpractice.
The CBI is investigating the sub-inspector recruitment scam.
“I am of the considered opinion that at this stage when the investigation is yet to be completed, it is the fittest case where bail ought not be granted and the petitioners/accused too have failed to carve out a strong case for bail in their favour,” the judge said in his 10-page order on Wednesday.
Kumar and his son had sought bail from the high court after their earlier application was rejected by the chief judicial magistrate, Jammu. In their latest application, the petitioners claimed the records of the case clearly reveal that there is not an iota of evidence of their role in the leak of the question paper and that they have not committed any offence.
Senior additional advocate general and CBI counsel Monika Kohli vehemently opposed the bail plea on the grounds that they, along with other accused, have indulged in a criminal conspiracy with officials of JKSSB and M/s Merit Trac Bengaluru, the company assigned the task of conduct of written examination.
She said they are among 33 accused persons indicted in the case and have played a “key role” in the scam.
“The investigation conducted so far has revealed that M/s Merit Trac Bengaluru was awarded (the contract for) conducting the written examination for the post of sub-inspectors in J&K and during the conduct of the examination, petitioners entered into criminal conspiracy with other accused based in Haryana for leak of question papers and sale of the same to the candidates in lieu of money.
“Petitioners/accused are highly influential persons and may influence the prosecution witnesses, whereby, the investigation may be prejudiced and more so the career of hundreds and thousands of aspirants have been marred/spoiled, the investigation is underway and more accused are likely to be arrested for sustained interrogation,” Kohli said.
She said that if the petitioners are enlarged on bail it will be difficult for the investigating agency to unearth the inter-state gangs operating in several states.
Agreeing with the CBI counsel, the judge said recruitment scam in government services undermines public confidence in the system and causes grave injustice to the deserving and meritorious candidates.
Kumar is accused of arranging vehicles on March 25, 2022 for transportation of candidates, including his son, from Jammu to Karnal for providing leaked question paper in lieu of money and was in constant touch with other accused persons.
On health issues of Kumar, the judge said the administration is under legal obligation to provide all medical facilities to the petitioners in judicial custody, if required.