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Who is on PPSC member list? Sons of farmer union leader, Preneet’s friend

Merit matters? Patiala connection, too, comes in handy. Interestingly, many applicants are from the CM’s home town which also explains the higher success rate.

punjab Updated: Jan 25, 2018 10:28 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur
Sukhdeep Kaur
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PPSC,Punjab Public Service Commission,Bhupinder Singh Mann
(HT Representative)

Six posts, 182 applicants. But the right political links seem to have been the main criteria for choosing members of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). The list, accessed by HT, has to now be sent by the chief secretary to the governor for a final nod.

Amid agitations by farmer unions over debt waiver in Punjab, Gurpartap Mann, son of Bhartiya Kisan Union (Mann) president Bhupinder Singh Mann, has made it to the final list of six by the Congress government. Gurpartap has been part of the social media team of the Congress in the last two state elections after his stint at the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and the Punjab State Industrial Development Board. Mann is a confidant of Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Randhawa.

Among the finalists is also Jamit Kaur Teji, a PhD-holder with “58 years” of experience in “central government”. But her age on the list of applicants for the post is 56 years! Even if out of negligence, it exposes how the selections were made from a list with typographical errors. There is no mention of which department of central government Teji worked for. The Tejis are also Congress loyalists.

There are some more “son-rises” in the list. Supreet Ghuman, the only non-official member on the list, is the 38-year-old son of Surinder Kaur Ghuman, a socialite friend of Preneet Kaur, former Union minister and the CM’s wife. A resident of Hira Nagar in Patiala, Ghuman’s educational qualification is BTech and LLB, and his experience is listed as advocate in the Punjab and Haryana high court. There is no mention of his years of experience. He has also worked as deputy advocate general for Haryana.

Ghuman has been selected against two other contenders: Harmohan Kaur Sandhu, a writer and columnist, and Asit Jolly, a journalist.

Interestingly, many applicants are from the CM’s home town Patiala which also explains the higher success rate. Another finalist with a Patiala connection is Amar Partap Singh Virk, a bureaucrat due to retire in April.

There’s more. A non-gazetted officer who joined the Punjab police on compassionate grounds will select gazetted officers if chosen. Lok Nath Angra started as a station house officer (SHO) in Amritsar and retired as inspector general of police (IGP).

His selection has raised hackles of many in Congress as they claim he was close to Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah. After the change of guard, he is now learnt to have proximity with Punjab assembly speaker Rana KP Singh. While Angra has made it to the final list, the name of HS Nanda, a IAS officer who retired after noted service as divisional commissioner of Jalandhar last year, has not even been shortlisted.

Leader of opposition Sukhpal Khaira claims Angra had a “chequered” career. Khaira, who has raised objection to the selection process saying he was not invited for the meetings, has also sent a letter to chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh asking why claims of some deserving ones have been overlooked.

The sixth name on the final list is of Neelam Grewal. But she had not applied for any post. The name of Grewal, who is working as dean for postgraduate studies at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has been nominated. When contacted, she said it was nominated by “some intellectuals” in the state.

On the ‘merit’ list

Jamit Kaur Teji: Age 56 years, experience listed as 56 years — typo reveals a lot!

Suprit Ghuman: Son of a friend of ex-Union minister and CM’s wife Preneet Kaur

Lok Nath Angra: A non-gazetted officer who rose to become IGP; questions over his career

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 09:30 IST