WITH IAS officers’ revolt in Bihar against the arrest of their colleague and 1987 batch IAS Sudhir Kumar getting louder every passing day, the state government has been contemplating to hand over the case to the CBI as it could appease the anger of the top bureaucrats running the state administration. The revolt of the top bureaucrats in the state was palpable after the IAS officers decided not to take any verbal instructions from any higher office, including the office of the chief minister. And then on Sunday, about 50 IAS officers were seen…making a human chain outside the Raj Bhawan to express their solidarity with Kumar, the chairman of Bihar Staff Selection Commission who was arrested last week in connection with the leakage of question papers of Bihar Combined Entrance Competitive (BCEC) examination. Some of his relatives who appeared for the test were also arrested in the same case.
The IAS officers have also been demanding the question paper leak case currently being investigated by the state government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be transferred to the CBI.
According to media reports quoting sources, state chief minister Nitish Kumar came to know about the arrest of the IAS officer only after he was picked up at midnight from Hazaribagh in neighbouring Jharkhand. CM, who is otherwise vocal and always takes a stand on every other issue, has maintained a studied silence on the arrest of the IAS officer. The state government has also been contemplating to hand over the case to the CBI to mollify the officers’ anger. But there’s a fear too. What if the CBI turns the case into a mega recruitment scam?
There have been a number of unanswered questions to this episode. Is it an IAS-IPS turf battle? IAS officers have questioned: What was the need for arresting a senior IAS officer when he was interrogated thrice and was co-operating with the investigating agency?
Some reports suggest a political twist to this episode. The arrested IAS officer had served as home secretary under Jitan Ram Manjhi, who had an estranged relations with current CM Nitish Kumar. Ahead of 2015 Bihar poll, Manjhi joined the BJP-led alliance to fight against the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). The grand alliance won the elections and Nitish Kumar continued as the Chief Minister.