Ever heard of a government department issuing an appointment letter to a candidate who never appeared for the mandatory interview for a lone post? At the same time, the department denied the job to another candidate who not only qualified the written examination but also gave the interview, securing the highest marks (according to a reply to an application filed under the Right to Information Act).
Curiously, the candidate who was offered the job without his even giving the interview never reported for joining either. Though strange, this is a true story about an unemployed man’s over decade-long legal battle with the state information department and the persecution that followed when he made the officials face a CBI probe in the infamous recruitment scam.
The matter dates back to August 1998 when the information department issued an advertisement, inviting applications to 80 posts of group C employees. The posts had to be filled through a written examination and an interview.
Having once already held the interviews, the department again asked candidates to reappear for the interview, saying the records containing marks obtained by them in the interview had been misplaced. Dinesh Gupta, who had applied for the lone post of sub-editor, moved the Allahabad high court, challenging the logic for holding an interview twice following which the court ordered a CBI probe into the matter. The CBI did chargesheet the accused who included an IAS officer (the then director, information) and two PCS officers but could not retrieve the data (interview marks ) from the CD which, it was found during the forensic examination, had been overwritten.
This led the high court in 2006 to direct the information department to again call only those candidates for interview who had appeared for the interview earlier. The court also ordered to keep their written examination marks in a sealed cover without communicating the written test marks to the interview board. The department then moved the Supreme Court which refused to entertain the plea and advised them to file a petition before a larger bench of the high court. The larger bench also upheld the order of the single judge.
The department finally held interviews in April 2011 only after the high court issued a contempt notice on the petitioner’s complaint. For the lone post of sub-editor (Hindi) for which the petitioner (Dinesh Gupta) had applied, four candidates—Jitendra Kumar Tiwari, Sunil Kumar Singh, Thakur Prasad and the petitioner were called for the interview on April 16, 2011. Only Gupta and Thakur Prasad appeared before the interview board. The merit list comprising written test and interview marks put the petitioner above Thakur Prasad.
But the department chose to send the appointment letter not to Gupta, but to Sunil Kumar Singh (Roll No 00272) who did not even give the interview!
In an obvious bid to avoid contempt proceedings against them, the officials (mis)informed the HC that the appointment letter had been issued to the petitioner. The HC had earlier directed the department to issue the appointment letter to Gupta.
“....insofar as the appointment order has already been issued to the petitioner. A copy of the said order dated 3.1.2012 has been placed before this court for its perusal,” the then director, information, Badal Chatterjee informed the court in April 2012.
But the truth emerged when Gupta filed an application under the RTI, seeking the proof of Sunil Kumar Singh, who was declared selected, having appeared in the interview. “It is to be informed that the appointment letter could not be issued to Dinesh Gupta because of his name not being there in the seniority list,” Bhupendra Singh, assistant director, said in his written reply in response to the RTI query, on July 13, 2012. “On the one hand, they misled the court by informing it that the appointment letter had been issued to me on the other hand they told me that the appointment letter could not be issued to me as my name was not on the seniority list which is again a lie as my name was on the top in the seniority list and more so because only I possessed the prior working experience that carried extra weightage,” said Gupta, a resident of Marhara in Etah district He alleged that he was not being issued the appointment letter even nine moths after the HC order because the information department officers were prejudiced against him for his getting a contempt notice issued against them.
Ironically, most of the candidates got the job against 80 vacancies advertised in 1998 during the Kalyan Singh government, solely because of Dinesh doggedly fighting the case in one court after another. But the legal battle for himself is far from being over yet.
“I have got the case reopened in the high court and I am looking forward to justice,” said an unemployed but hopeful and resolute Dinesh.