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HindustanTimes Wed,24 Sep 2014

HC calls probe report damning indictment of PPSC selections

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 27, 2014
First Published: 07:44 IST(27/5/2014) | Last Updated: 07:46 IST(27/5/2014)

The special investigating team (SIT) probing the Punjab Public Service Commission’s (PPSC’s) cash-for-job scam in the recruitment of 312 medical officers in 2008-09 has found “selections on whims, nepotism and favouritism basis”. Taken aback by the SIT’s damning report, the Punjab and Haryana high court observed that “all rules in the rulebook have been brazenly violated.”

The two-member SIT comprising former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) joint director MS Bali and chief director, Punjab vigilance bureau, Suresh Arora, constituted in November last year, submitted its concluding report on Monday before the division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The court was hearing the public interest litigation filed by former Punjab director general of police (DGP) KPS Gill in 2010, challenging the entire selections.

Till date, no FIR has been registered in the case and selected candidates are continuing in service.

The SIT report read, “Evidence shows that the members of the PPSC, with the active and aggressive connivance of SK Sinha, (then) chair man, had decided right in the beginning of the PCMS selections 2008-09 to subvert the entire selection process… Thus, the entire selection of 312 doctors in two lots into the PCMS in the years 2008-09 by the PPSC is full of blatant irregularities.”

Senior advocate Anupam Gupta, appearing for the petitioner, said, “It appears that subsequent generations of the PPSC have taken inspiration from Ravi Sidhu (former PPSC chairman). The public service commission is a pillar of the Constitution which has completely collapsed.”

SIT RECOMMENDATIONS
The SIT has submitted that a case of disproportionate assets is prima facie made out against Dr SS Mohi, member, pertaining to his tenure in the PPSC from May 9, 2006, to December 16, 2011, and may be registered and investigated.

The report further read, “Though a prima facie case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) stands made out against then chairman and members of the PPSC, namely SK Sinha, Brig DS Grewal (retd), Dr SS Mohi, DS Mahal, Ravinder Kaur, Anil Sarin and others, for their acts of commission and omission in connection with this selection, the absence of direct evidence of quid pro quo, makes its outcome perhaps uncertain.”
The SIT has also submitted that separate offences such as cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery for the purpose of cheating, and using forged document as genuine are also made out against all those candidates who have used forged certificates for claiming weightage for social work in the medical field. “Such cases may be re gistered and investigated,” the report read.

COURT OBSERVATIONS
The court said, “It (SIT report) is a damning indictment of the process of selection of the PPSC.”

The court added, “In a nutshell, rules of the game were changed midstream, weightage of viva voce and other aspects increased while reducing weightage of academic qualifications, the changed rules not even intimated to the candidates, open contact between the candidates and the select committees, unusual cash financial credits in the account of Dr SS Mohi, a member, intervention of chairman SK Sinha at every stage to tailor-make the result to an extent where he awarded zero marks to as many as 219 candidates while awarding 100% marks to 14 candidates, completely reversing the reflection of merit, i.e., persons who did not do well in the written test were honoured while persons who had performed well were excluded by granting zero marks (though other members granted marks ranging from 20% to 85% to the very candidates, Sinha marked 0%, the same set of experts being called again and again despite there being a larger pool of talent and one of the members, Ravinder Kaur, being shown present while the logbook of her vehicle showed that she was at Chandigarh, not at Patiala.”

The court further said that with all rules being violated when the matter had come to court, a retrospective regularisation was made by the commission. It has been specifically opined that Dr SS Mohi has not been able to satisfactorily explain the pecuniary resources and property acquired during the relevant period of time, the court said.

The court has now posted the matter for July 1 for deciding the future course of action.

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