The Punjab school education department has acknowledged the illegal recruitment of physical training instructors (PTIs) for which it had initiated a probe in September last year. It has now approached the SSP, SAS Nagar, to register a case, zeroing in on 16 illegal appointees and a senior retired official who conducted the counselling in July-August 2011.
HT had reported the scam on August 23, 2012 that 55 of the 70 illegally recruited in the 2006 batch had not even applied that led to the inquiry.
These 70 were among the 849 PTIs appointed in July-August 2012 after a long spell of legal tangles in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The inquiry panel has established the scam in its report submitted to the state government on October 17, 2013, highlighting that the record of eight illegal appointees were "not available".
The report, however, failed to clarify the details of 47 other candidates whose names were not in the C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) list of 5,312 candidates for the 849 PTI posts that were advertised in 2006. These posts were filled up in July-August in 2012 after the outcome of the related court cases.
More than three months after deputy director (school education) Ramesh Aggarwal submitted his inquiry report to the principal secretary, without naming any guilty official, the department is yet to take any punitive action.
When contacted, DPI (secondary education) Kamal Garg, who himself was in the thick of the controversy, said he had written to the SSP, SAS Nagar, for lodging the FIR, adding that show-cause notices were also served to "17-18 guilty officials", whose replies were awaited.
"The government (principal secretary school education Anjali Bhawra) had written for the dismissal of those guilty," Garg told HT, saying the details like the names of the guilty officials could not be ascertained at this juncture.
He, however, said the SSP, SAS Nagar, had been asked to lodge the FIR against the then selection committee chairperson Neelam Bhagat who had "prepared the merit list".
Bhagat, who retired as deputy director in September 2012, told HT that she was used as a "rubber stamp" by the DPI who had been "dictating the terms".
Bhagat even cited the official letter (3/57-12 C-1(5) dated July 11, 2012) in which Garg wrote to her to hand over the entire record of recruitments to her colleague, deputy director Surjit Kaur, who succeeded her to head a fresh selection committee. The DPI took the entire record from her two and a half months before her retirement.
The appointment letters issued on August 31, 2012, bore the signatures of DPI Garg and those of deputy director Pankaj Sharma, who was also in the team that had conducted counselling for the 849 PTI posts in July 2011.
Pankaj Sharma, who was also member of the selection committee chaired by Bhagat was, however, spared as the DPI wrote to the SSP to register the case only against Bhagat.
As the C-DAC gave the registration numbers of 41 as 'candidates' for the post of PTI teachers to the probe panel, it is yet to be clarified whether these 41 of the 55 zeroed in on as non-applicants in the HT news report (dated August 23, 2014) had actually applied for the jobs advertised specifically in 2006.
(Tomorrow: Illegal appointees still on job)