LAHORE / MULTAN: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has widened its scope of investigation into the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) question papers leak scandal and arrested two more senior officials besides conducting raids for others.

During the last two days, the ACE arrested Higher Education Commission (HEC) consultant Fahad Ali and PPSC regional director from Bahawalpur, Furqan Ahmed. They are allegedly involved in leaking the question papers for the written test being conducted by the PPSC for 58 posts in the revenue department.

The ACE also conducted a raid in Multan to arrest a former employee of the PPSC who is currently working for the revenue department in Multan.

An ACE spokesperson told Dawn on Wednesday that HEC consultant Fahad Ali had also remained associated with the NTS, which conducts tests and assessments for admissions, scholarships and recruitment.

“We have arrested Fahad Ali and regional head of PPSC (Bahawalpur) Furqan Ahmad on the disclosures of those already arrested in the scam. More arrests are expected in coming days as the cellphones and laptops of the six suspects have been sent for forensic examination,” he said and added that the ACE might recommend the PPSC to conduct fresh exams of those posts in which the suspects had leaked the question papers to some candidates after receiving handsome money.

All the six suspects – Waqar Akram, a junior data entry operator at the PPSC, Ghazanfar, an employee of the finance department, Gohar Ali, an MPhil history student of the Punjab University, Mazhar Iqbal, a private person, Fahad Ali and Furqan Ahmed – are in the ACE custody on physical remand.

The first four were caught red-handed on Saturday last by a special investigation team hours before the written test for the 58 posts of tehsildar, consolidation/hill torrent officer and reader to member Board of Revenue (BS-16), held across the province by the PPSC the same day.

As many as 103,487 candidates had applied for the competitive examination against the advertised posts.

“The four arrested gang members have confessed that they not only leaked the question papers of the test for tehsildar’s posts but also of previous papers for the posts of inspector and ACE assistant director, lecturers in chemistry, education etc,” ACE said, adding it was investigating the role of other suspects in the leak of question papers of these exams.

Sources said the regional director of ACE (Multan) Haidar Abbas Wattoo had received direction from the office of ACE DG to summon a revenue officer who had previously served as assistant director in the PPSC.

An ACE officer in the regional office contacted him by phone and asked him to reach the ACE regional office without any delay. The officer told the called that he was in Lahore. Later, he switched off his cell phone.

The sources said the officer left Multan after learning about the arrest of the PPSC regional head.

ACE Director Haidar Abbas Wattoo confirmed that he had received direction from the ACE headquarters to summon the officer to his office.

Published in Dawn, January 7th, 2021

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