The investigations into the jobs-for-cash scandal in the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC), which has already sent at least four persons, including chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul to police custody, have hit upon startling revelations about how recruitments were carried out. Subject-matter specialists, who were invited to be part of the interview panels for specific posts – like engineers, doctors and professors – were actually called in only for show, with the chairman and some of the members allegedly doing the final selection.
One such instance was an interview for selection of lecturers for Cotton College, the oldest college of the entire Northeastern region that was set up way back in 1901. A professor and three associate professors of Gauhati University were invited by the APSC as experts for the interview conducted in early part of 2015.
But even as the interviews were held and the final list of selected candidates forwarded by the APSC chairman Paul to the Assam government, the four experts in a jointly signed letter to the government stated that their opinion and scores were simply not taken into account while making the final selection.
But what exactly happened in the interview process was that the experts were asked to simply hand over their respective score-sheets to the APSC chairman without the panel (which also had a couple of APSC members including its chairman) reaching a consensus and signing on a common sheet. “Instead of all the members of the panel reaching a consensus and putting their signatures on a common sheet showing the final merit list, we were simply asked to hand over the score-sheets of the interview at the end of the day and leave,” the letter written by the four Gauhati University professors said.
The Gauhati University professors, in their letter to the state government also put on record that the candidates who they had recommended – and who had scored more during the interview and had better marks in their MA examination – did not find figure in the final list that was released by the APSC.
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On many other occasions, experts were made to write down their remarks on plain papers and were asked to hand them over to the chairman without arriving at a consensus and all the panel members signing on a common sheet showing the final merit list.
On August 31, the final list of 133 assistant engineers of the state irrigation department was prepared exclusively by three members including chairman Rakesh Kumar Paul. A fourth member, who was called in to sign after the final list was ready, however not only refused to endorse it, but was even engaged in an exchange of words with the chairman over the hush-hush preparation of the final list. The final list of selected candidates was prepared with signatures of only three members out of six. (ends)