Delhi LG orders inquiry into irregularities in guest teachers hiring by AAP govt
The Delhi government runs 1,043 schools, in which around 18 lakh students are enrolled from Class I to XII. Guest teachers are hired on a contractual basis on daily wages at many schools across the city, where vacancies are yet to be permanently filled.
Delhi lieutenant governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Thursday ordered an internal inquiry into alleged irregularities in the engagement of guest teachers at state-run government schools in the city and the alleged embezzlement of funds by paying salaries to non-existent or “ghost” guest teachers.
Saxena has directed Delhi chief secretary Naresh Kumar to advise the director (education) to verify the engagement, physical attendance, and withdrawal of salaries of all guest teachers engaged by the government, according to a letter by Ankita Mishra Bundela, the secretary to the LG.
HT has seen a copy of the letter, which states, “...as directed by the LG, director education may kindly be advised to immediately undertake an exercise to verify the engagement, physical attendance, drawl of salary of all guest teachers engaged in the schools of Directorate of Education and a status report in this regard may kindly be furnished to this Secretariat within a month for the kind perusal of the LG.”
In response, the government said, “We welcome any inquiry. If there is any wrongdoing, the guilty should be punished.”
In the letter, the LG’s secretary wrote, “While disposing off vigilance matters, instances of irregularities in engagement of guest teachers and embezzlement of government funds by way of drawl of salaries of such non-existent guest teachers for years together in Delhi government schools have come to the notice of the LG.”
“The LG has desired that such instance of fraudulent drawl of government funds should be met with exemplary and deterrent action against officials/staff involved in such practices including those at the supervisory level. Also, the mechanism of internal audit should be strengthened so that such instances do not go unnoticed and unpunished,” the letter stated.
The Delhi government runs 1,043 schools, in which around 18 lakh students are enrolled from Class I to XII. Guest teachers are hired on a contractual basis on daily wages at many schools across the city, where vacancies are yet to be permanently filled. Unlike regular teachers, guest teachers are not entitled to some emoluments such as leaves, provident fund etc.
Last week, the LG had granted permission to the anti-corruption branch (ACB) to file a case against two serving and two retired vice-principals of a Delhi government school for allegedly fraudulently drawing guest teachers’ salary in the name of “non-existent guest teachers”. Apart from the probe against the four officials, the ACB is also examining the extent of the scam, identity of the beneficiaries and examine if such a fraud existed in other schools too.
The move comes even as the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government tussle over Saxena’s recommendation for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged irregularities in Delhi’s excise policy, and alleged irregularities in the proposed procurement of 1000 low-floor buses by the AAP government.
The AAP has alleged that the BJP wants to “crush” it due to its rising popularity, while the BJP has claimed that the AAP is trying to divert attention from the probes into the excise policy and other cases.