In a hush-hush operation, the district enforcement branch of the Government Railway Police (GRP), Howrah, descended on the Metro Railway headquarters on Monday afternoon and arrested deputy chief personnel officer Biswanath Hansda.
A team of officers, led by Amalesh Bala, officer-in-charge, GRP, Azimgunge, in Murshidabad, trooped into Hansda's office on Jawaharlal Nehru Road and arrested him after grilling him for his alleged involvement in offering fake appointments to around 50 youths in 2003.
Hansda was then posted in Malda as divisional personnel officer.
Metro Railway officers refused comment on the matter.
Hansda's arrest blows the lid off a scam involving officers promising fake railway jobs. The scam trail leads through the three states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Bengal.
Inquiries reveal that Hansda and a group of railway employees had reportedly joined hands to offer fake appointments to candidates who paid them anything between Rs 80,000 and a lakh.
The jobs on offer were those of gangman, gatekeeper, storekeeper, lightman and even peon. Almost all the jobs were in the Malda division. Some were offered jobs as group-D staff at Farakka railway station.
Besides Hansda, at least 19 other suspects have been arrested so far.
Before Hansda, the assistant personnel officer of Asansol division had been arrested, claimed GRP officers.
On Tuesday, Hansda was produced at Lalbagh sub-divisional court in Murshidabad and remanded in judicial custody for 14 days.
'There is definite evidence suggesting his complicity in the case, resulting in his arrest,' said Mukul Sengupta, inspector-general of police (Railways).
Police have found fake appointment letters and identity cards, which Hansda had issued to all the candidates as proof of their appointment.
'These documents looked so authentic that it was difficult to make out at first glance that they were fakes,' said Amalesh Bala, officer-in-charge of GRP, Azimgunge.
After Malda, Hansda was shifted to Metro Railway, where he joined as deputy chief personnel officer.
During his stint as divisional personnel officer in Malda, investigations revealed, Hansda was well-connected with the top brass of the Eastern Railway. He had 'contacts' in several districts, including Malda, Murshidabad and Birbhum.
'Some Birbhum candidates had to sell their plots of land for a fake job,' said a senior officer of the GRP's district enforcement branch on Tuesday.