The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday conducted searches at multiple locations in Rajasthan in connection with a money laundering investigation into allegations of exam paper leaks for recruitment of teachers in the state, official sources said.
Around three dozen premises in state capital Jaipur, Ajmer, Dungarpur and the border town of Barmer were covered as part of the action being undertaken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the sources said.
They said the action is being undertaken against the accused and operatives whose names have cropped up in these alleged paper leak cases.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), according to sources, had gathered some inputs after it recently recorded the statements of some of the accused involved and arrested in these cases.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) provided security cover to the search teams.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot accused the Centre of misusing its investigative agencies and said the ED searches in the state were "anticipated" as the assembly elections are approaching.
He questioned why the ED was "intervening" when the state's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was doing such a "good job" in investigating the leak of papers of the government's teacher recruitment exam.
"ACB is doing such a good job, why are you intervening? Earlier also, the ED was sent in a paper leak case but what happened after that? Why do you interfere without any reason," Gehlot asked.
He also said that the ED should cooperate with the ACB if the federal agency gets something in the course of its searches.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Kirodi Meena claimed that the searches were going on at 28 locations in the state. He had demanded action in the REET 2021 paper leak case. The state has witnessed a few instances where it was alleged that exam question papers for recruitment of teachers were leaked to aspirants, including in 2021 during the hiring of teachers by the state education board and during last year in a test conducted by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC). The Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Rajasthan Police, which is investigating the paper leaks, had arrested former RPSC member Babulal Katara, his nephew and driver in April in connection with the senior teacher paper leak case of 2022.
The exam was cancelled after the paper was widely shared on social media before the commencement of the exam. The premises linked to a person identified as Bhajanlal, an accused in the REET-2001 case, are stated to have been covered during the action in Barmer.
Several other accused have also been arrested in connection with the paper leak cases and their premises too are understood to have been covered.
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