A senior IAS officer, an IPS officer, an HPS and a HCS officer are in the dock for playing specific roles in the allegedly “erroneous” recruitment of anganwadi workers across the state. On the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s orders, the Haryana police has begun to reinvestigate the alleged scandal that originated from one district – Sirsa. While the HCS officer has allegedly emerged as a prime suspect who “tampered the merit lists”, the HPS officer conducted the probe and filed a cancellation report while the IAS and IPS officers approved the cancellation report allegedly ignoring the “glaring discrepancies”.
All the officers’ roles are now being probed by a SIT comprising officers of the state crime branch. Haryana DGP Y P Singhal constituted the SIT headed by DIG Hardeep Singh Doon. The other members include DSP Mahavit Singh and Inspector Sadhu Ram.
The Haryana government had been pulled up by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the “shoddy investigations” into the anganwadi workers’ recruitment scandal. The case will now come up for hearing in September before which the SIT has to complete its probe and submit a report to the court. “The probe is on. Officials are being questioned and we shall submit our report in the stipulated time period,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express.
A FIR was registered on September 6, 2012, in Sirsa district on charges of “public servant disobeying the law with an intent to cause injury to a person” and “public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury to a person” and under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act. A Deputy Superintendent of Police rank officer, Satbir Singh Sheoran, conducted investigations into the FIR and filed a cancellation report. Meanwhile, the affected anganwadi workers, who could not get selected because of the alleged tampering of merit list, approached Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2012.
DSP Sheoran (now retired) filed a cancellation report in the court citing “no offence made out”. He, however, allegedly ignored glaring discrepancies in his investigation, that were pointed out by the high court, which then ordered the Haryana government to conduct a thorough probe in February this year. The court also indicted the police for conducting a “shoddy investigations”.
After being pulled up by the court, the Haryana Police initiated disciplinary action under rule 7 of Haryana Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1987, against DSP Sheoran.
The DGP has asked Hisar range Inspector General of Police, to inquire and find out – “Role of then SP, Sirsa who approved the cancellation report of FIR under PC Act; role of law officer of the office of SP, Sirsa who opined the case to be fit for filing cancellation report; conduct of the present IO of the case FIR and conduct/role of any other police official who conducted the investigation of the case”.
Officials have so far recorded statements of Pankaj Chaudhary, the HCS officer, who was posted as the additional deputy commissioner, Sirsa, at the time of the alleged irregularities.
HCS officer quizzed
The Haryana Police has already recorded statements of HCS officer Pankaj Chaudhary who alleged made the cuttings in the interviews list, select list and waiting list. According to DSP Dharamvir Singh who recorded her statements, “She could not satisfactorily explain the cuttings made by her in the select list. “Statement of Pankaj Chaudhary was recorded and she could not satisfactorily explain the cuttings made by her in the select list. The copy of the enquiry conducted by the City Magistrate as made available today clearly reveals that the then ADC, Sirsa, Pankaj Chaudhary should also be questioned for the cuttings made in the interviews list, selection list and waiting list, whereas the City Magistrate, Sirsa has not done so. In these circumstancs, the then DC should also have asked Pankaj Chaudhary to give her statement so that the inquiry is complete in all respects rather than forwarding the same to Women and Child Development Department. The explanation of the then ADC and DC, Sirsa, has been sought by the state government”, mentions a communication sent by deputy CS (administration) to the chief secretary, to director, Woman and Child Development department.