Teacher recruitment scams are not limited to state governments. Recruitment of 80 teachers by the central government-run Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti through its regional office in Bhopal has come under cloud with allegations of manipulation and tampering of the merit list and scores to appoint ineligible candidates.
Highly placed sources confirmed that an internal inquiry ordered by the Noida-based NVS headquarters had found discrepancies in the appointment process of 80 teachers following which it referred the matter to the Smriti Irani-led HRD ministry, recommending a CBI probe.
NVS regional office, Bhopal, administers over 90 Navodaya schools spread across Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
As per complaints made to the HRD ministry, the merit list was tampered with by the deputy commissioner regional office, NVS Bhopal, to appoint several candidates who had failed in one or both the papers in the written test. It has also been alleged that Rs 8-10 lakh bribes were sought from candidates for selection.
The HRD minister’s approval will be required for a CBI inquiry into the scam and it is learnt she is looking into it.
An NVS inquiry has observed that original appointment papers have been tampered with — except the last page signed by selection committee members.
Correction fluid has been used to change the scores of some candidates and handwriting of marks in words does not tally across pages.
A complaint was first made to secretary school education, HRD ministry, in October 2013 alleging corruption by Mohd Kaleem, the then deputy commissioner, NVS regional office, Bhopal, in the appointment of 80 teachers to Navodaya Vidyalayas. A copy of the complaint was also referred to the HRD ministry in January 2014.
In the NVS system, while recruitment of trained graduate teachers is conducted at the headquarters, appointment of teachers of miscellaneous categories such as art teacher, music teacher, librarian and physical education training is done by the regional offices. Applications were invited to fill over 60 vacancies for Bhopal regional office in March 2012.
The regional office in Bhopal engaged University Institute of Applied Management Sciences under Panjab University, Chandigarh, to conduct the exam while it conducted interviews of shortlisted candidates in July 2013.
While the final merit list is learnt to have been sent to Kaleem on August 13, 2013, all original documents relating to the selection process were in his custody till January 31, 2014, when he retired.
The discrepancies in the documents came to light when A Y Reddy took charge from Kaleem after his retirement.
Kaleem, however, has denied any wrongdoing in the appointments. “There is no question of any bungling or tampering. This is mischievous. There is no role of the deputy commissioner in this. The merit list was handed over in a sealed cover by Panjab University to us,” he said.
A Panjab University spokesperson denied any wrongdoing by the UIAMS and cited its proven track record in defence.
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.