The police in Assam on Wednesday arrested 19 government officials, including a Bharatiya Janata Party MP’s daughter, for allegedly being involved in a cash-for-job scam, PTI reported. The accused are officers in the state Public Service Commission.

The police said Pallavi Sarmah, an Assam police service officer from the 2016 batch, was one of the accused. She is the daughter of Tezpur MP Ram Prasad Sarmah, and is the deputy superintendent of police in Sibsagar district at present.

On Monday, the police summoned the accused to collect their handwriting samples. “The 19 officers were arrested on the basis of forensic reports, which found their answer sheets for the APSC exam to be forged,” Dibrugarh Superintendent of Police Gautam Borah told the Hindustan Times.

RP Sarmah claimed some of his party colleagues were conspiring to ensure he does not get a ticket for the 2019 General Elections. “It is a political conspiracy to target me through my daughter,” Sarmah told the Hindustan Times.

Police officials, however, refuted his allegation. “The investigation into the case is progressing in a scientific manner as per law,” Borah said. “There is no question of targeting or sparing anyone. More arrests are likely based on further forensic reports.”

The BJP legislator had reportedly criticised a few state government departments recently and accused ministers from his party of accepting kickbacks in exchange for jobs.

The scam

The other accused include 13 state civil service officers, two police officers, two tax officers and a district transport officer. The police have arrested 53 people till date for their alleged role in the scam over a period of two years.

Former Assam Public Service Commission chairperson Rakesh Paul and eight other officials of the panel were among those arrested in 2016. Paul and his associates used to allegedly charge candidates between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 30 lakh in return for jobs with the commission. They allegedly used to replace their answer sheets with fake ones.