The state government has decided to order a high-level probe into the scam relating to recruitment of 331 clerks in the agriculture department by the previous Left
Front regime in 2007.
The proposed enquiry could either be a ‘judicial’ one, headed by a retired Judge of Calcutta High Court, or conducted by an eminent person/retired government official known for his impeccable integrity, said agriculture minister Moloy Ghatak.
“The state government is deeply concerned at the rampant malpractices committed by the previous government in dealing with such a matter of serious public interest. Prima facie there are enough evidences that the exam conducted for the purpose and the manner of selection of successful candidates were totally fraudulent.
Several close relatives of high officials and kin of top leaders of the previous Left Front government-ruling parties were handpicked for a final panel of 993 (so-called ‘merit list’), while several thousands of deserving applicants were ignored deliberately. The entire process wreaked corruption and nepotism. The real truth must be unearthed,” Ghatak told Hindustan Times.
However, betraying his clear frustration at the repeated defeats of the government in both Calcutta High Court in 2012 and the Supreme Court recently, Ghatak contended that the verdicts could be complied with only after unraveling the mystery behind the nefarious practices adopted in conducting the sham exam for recruitment.
All records relating to the entire laborious process have gone mysteriously missing from the department. An administrative enquiry into the sordid affair also proved barren. It was not without reason that the previous regime had hastily declared the exam ‘null and void’ in January 2008 and withdrew the arbitrary ‘merit list’ (published in December 2008) in order to save itself from further humiliation, he pointed out.
But even while being extra cautious at not dropping the slightest hint of defiance against the court rulings, the minister gave enough indications of not letting such a golden opportunity go abegging for reaping propaganda mileage bonanza against sworn political opponents at the present juncture by way of an ‘impartial probe’ and resultant exposure of the most odious scams.
It would be recalled that the previous government, the then finance department heads especially smelt a rat in the dubious selection process of 993 ‘lucky ones’ out of 44,430 examinees.
Some finicky officials delved into the matter straining their nerves soon after 85 employees of the agriculture department fired a legal notice complaining criminal misconduct in manipulating exam results.
Moreover, a few thousands of the job applicants (75,475) went to court and the State Administrative Tribunal alleging deliberate non-delivery of ‘admit cards’ for appearing in the written test.