Punjab education minister Sikander Singh Maluka apparently wants the best for his daughter-in-law Parampal Kaur. No wonder the latter is in contention for being inducted into the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) instead of the Punjab Civil Service (PCS).
Parampal had applied to the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) for commissioning as a PCS officer earlier this year, but in an extraordinary move, her file made its way back to the state government so that her name could be proposed for an IAS nomination.
Recruited as a block development and panchayat officer (BDPO), Parampal is currently working as an additional project director in the office of the director general, school education (DGSE), which comes under Maluka's ministry.
Highly-placed sources in the PPSC said Parampal's file reached the commission's office for a PCS nomination in February along with about a dozen other files. These files contained the record of the service book, annual confidential reports, etc., which the PPSC had to scrutinise.
In the meantime, the ministry of personnel, Punjab, invited applications through department heads from non-PCS officers, whose names were to be forwarded to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for nomination as IAS officers. Under the rules, a non-PCS officer can be inducted into the IAS under exceptional circumstances if he/she has an outstanding and meritorious service record of 10 years.
Then secretary, personnel, Anirudh Tiwari called up the PPSC secretary to send Parampal's file back to the state government. However, then PPSC chairman Lt Gen RS Sujlana (retd) refused to do the needful without a written communication from the government. Later, government officials obtained the file on the pretext of getting it photocopied, but never returned it to the PPSC. Later, the file was forwarded by the rural development department, Parampal's parent department, proposing her name for IAS induction.
Incidentally, the state government is yet to finalise the panel of applicants to be sent to the UPSC.
When contacted, Lt Gen Sujlana said, "Initially, government officials made a verbal request, but I refused and asked for a written communication. When I received a written request, I allowed the file to be sent back."
Requesting anonymity, a PPSC member said, "It's surprising that the day applications for IAS nominations from non-PCS officers were invited, Parampal's file was called back. It's a clear case of extending favours to an applicant under political pressure."
Despite several attempts, secretary, personnel, Saravjit Singh could not be contacted for comment.