ITANAGAR- M Harsha Vardhan, IPS, Additional DCP-1 South has been awarded the Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation for work done during his tenure in Arunachal Pradesh.
Harsha Vardhan was posted as the SP, Special Investigation Cell in Arunachal Pradesh, where he led the investigation into a major recruitment scam in the exam conducted by the Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board (APSSB).
The officials found that candidates appearing for the APSSB exam had paid 8-12 lakhs each to the then Under Secretary of APSSB for clearing the exam. They were asked to leave the OMR sheet blank and later the then Under Secretary of APSSB used her access to the strong room to fill in the correct answers. Evidence like CCTV footage had been destroyed. More than 20 persons were arrested in the case.
The police found unexplained transactions that were traced to an account linked to the arrested Under Secretary and her husband. The account containing more Rs 1 crore was seized. Electronic gadgets like mobile phones of accused, hard disks of CCTV system were seized and sent to CFSL Chandigarh, as there are no forensic facilities for digital evidence in Arunachal.
Various deleted WhatsApp chats and images were recovered from the phones of the accused persons which provided vital evidence in the case and also revealed that a similar scam had occurred in UDC examination conducted by APSSB earlier, for which SIC registered a separate case.
For the first time ever in Arunachal Pradesh, approver evidence was secured against the main accused in a Prevention of Corruption Act case.
Harsha Vardhan as SP, SIC, played a key role in ensuring that accused are booked and proper evidence is collected in the case even in a state like Arunachal Pradesh that lacks the required facilities, which led to him winning the medal for excellence in Investigation.