Admitting “irregularities” in the appointment of physical training instructors (PTIs) in Punjab government schools, education minister Sikandar Singh Maluka on Saturday came to the rescue of director public instructions (DPI)-secondary education Kamal Garg for the illegal appointments of at least 53 non-candidates in a drive to recruit the PTI teachers.
The HT had on Saturday reported the scandalous appointment letters issued by the DPI in July-August 2012. These also included appointment letters to 17 non-qualified, some not even 12th pass, besides the 53 who had never applied at all.
The minister, however, issued a clean chit to the DPI, Kamal Garg.
Both Garg and Maluka on Saturday even issued identical statements, throwing the onus for the said appointments on former director SCERT Neelam Bhagat who retired in November last year.
What Garg termed the panel as the selection committee was actually the 'sub-committee for the counseling' under the aegis of the DPI, the real appointing authority.
The seriousness of the matter is that the 53 tainted appointees were detected as non-applicants for their names missing in the C-DAC data that provides the entire list of those who had applied online.
The duo claimed that Bhagwat had been the “chairperson of the selection committee”. It is worth mentioning here that she had actually been elevated as director SCERT from the post of deputy director, secondary education in July 2011.
When contacted, she pointed out that she had conducted the counseling of the candidates on the basis of their applications online way back in June-July 2011, just before moving on to the SCERT as its director.
“The DPI was the appointing authority and I am not responsible for and not even aware whatever happened after July 2011 when I left the department,” she said.
Garg, talking to HT on phone, admitted on Saturday that he had signed the appointment letters in July-August 2012, one year after the counseling that was conducted by Bhagwat.
‘FIR will be lodged’
When asked for the reason for not lodging an FIR in the wake of the 53 non-applicants getting appointment letters, Bhatt said the FIR would be formally lodged “at an appropriate time after the findings of the inquiry”.
The DPI however brushed aside the query on no suspension as yet for these illegal appointments.