IAS association backed Bihar recruitment body chairman Sudhir Kumar arrested in the paper leak case.
Sudhir Kumar, a senior IAS officer who headed the Bihar Staff Selection Commission, was arrested on Friday for the leak of question papers in the recruitment examination conducted earlier this month.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had cancelled the examination on February 8 after reports of the leak emerged and handed over the probe to a special investigation team.
Nearly three dozen of people have been arrested including Mr Kumar's number two in the commission, Parmeshwar Ram. Many of those arrested are candidates who had paid - according to one account, between 2 to 5 lakh rupees - for the question paper.
Over 18 lakh candidates had responded to advertisements seeking applications for 9,600 clerical jobs in the state government.
Friday's arrest came after Mr Kumar's relatives allegedly told the police that the 1987 batch IAS officer used to get them advance copies of the question paper.
"SIT has arrested BSSC chairman Sudhir Kumar and four others, including his close kins in connection with the paper leak matter," Patna Inspector General of Police NH Khan told PTI.
Police said Mr Kumar was arrested along with four others including his two nephews.
But Mr Kumar's arrest could turn into another row between the two civil services, IAS and IPS.
In a statement, the Bihar IAS officers' association - that said it was "angered and anguished" at the development - called Mr Kumar "one of the finest officers" and pledged to "fight tooth and nail" for his cause.
The association called Mr Kumar "amongst the most honest, sincere and competent officers" and received instant support from IAS officers posted in the central government. "Arbitrary arrests of honest & sincere IAS officers is not done," the IAS (Central) Association tweeted.
The last time the IAS association in Bihar had protested the arrest of a young officer, Dr Jitendra Gupta's for corruption on his first posting in July 2016, it had emerged vindicated. The high court later quashed the case, ruling that the allegations against him were "outlandish" and could not be taken seriously, a view that was later shared by the Supreme Court too.