Sunday, March 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India





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SSSB Chairmanís house sealed
Chander Shekhar Sharma

Hamirpur, March 8
A team of the enforcement wing of the police today conducted a search of the State Subordinate Selection Board here after sealing the office premises.

There were allegations of the board giving jobs to near and dear ones of BJP leaders, workers and those having connections with the management.

The Chairman of the board, Mr Surendra Mohan Katwal, had categorically denied all charges during a press conference after the declaration of the Assembly poll. He had clarified that the working of the board was transparent and nothing wrong had been done while giving jobs.

Earlier, the team got search warrants from Mr R.K. Sharma, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Hamirpur, after getting the orders from the Additional Secretary (Home), Himachal Government, last evening.

The team was led by Mr Jagjit Kumar Gupta, DIG, Shimla. He came to Hamirpur along with Mr Kulbir Chauhan, law officer of the enforcement wing.

Mr Katwal was not in the town. He is on leave according to Ms Rakhi Kahlon, Secretary of the board. Mr Tashi Dawa, another member of the board, was also on tour and away in Shimla. The house of the Chairman was sealed this evening. Three cars were parked at his Hiranagar residence.

Vijay Kumar, chowkidar of the board, said he was woken up at midnight by the team. He said he was asked to give the keys and the premises was sealed. He said the search started at around 9.15 a.m. He was, however, not allowed to enter the office.

Mr Rattan Chand Verma, pradhan, Daroohi Gram Panchayat, in whose jurisdiction the board office falls, said in the morning he saw police personnel sealing the gates of the board.

Ms Kahlon admitted that the office had been raided and a search was going on. She refused to give more details.

Mr Babu Ram Mandyal, a former BJP MLA, was also seen around the board complex. However, enquiries reveal that he had gone to meet the local patwari there in connection with a land case.

Mr Jagjit Kumar Gupta, DIG, Enforcement, confirmed the raids and sealing of the office. He refused to give more details. He, however, said the search was going on and it might take two to three days.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the Enforcement Department has decided to summon all former secretaries of the board to enquire into the allegations of bungling in the recruitments. The board gives Class III and Class IV jobs as per the orders of the Himachal Government. The board has recruited 6,666 persons since its inception in 1998.
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