December 21, 2021 6:33:50 am
The MLAs from Congress and INLD cornered the state government on the issue of Haryana Public Service Commission cash-for-job scam in the ongoing winter session of Vidhan Sabha on Monday. After heated debates from the Opposition and reply from the treasury benches, the Congress MLAs staged walkout when they failed to get assurance from the government on a CBI probe into the scandal.
A number of Congress MLAs, led by Kiran Choudhry, moved an adjournment motion on the issue, demanding the government’s reply on the HPSC recruitment scam in which HPSC’s then deputy secretary Anil Nagar and others were arrested by the State Vigilance Bureau for rigging the recruitment examination of dental surgeons and HCS (executive branch). The Vigilance Bureau had also recovered over Rs 3.6 crore (alleged illegal gratification money) from the possession of the accused and the raids conducted at their places subsequent to their arrest. The Haryana government has already dismissed Nagar for his conduct.
Taking up the other recruitment examinations that were conducted by HPSC while Nagar was posted there as Deputy Secretary, the Congress MLAs raised questions on the fairness of all such recruitments. They demanded that not only the HPSC, but also other incidents of repeated paper-leaks in the examinations that Haryana Staff Selection Commission had conducted should be probed. Both HPSC and HSSC need to be revamped, they said.
The Congress MLAs also demanded that the constitution of HPSC and HSSC chairman and members should be done by a committee comprising chief minister, leader of opposition and Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Replying to the assertions made by the Opposition, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar assured the House that the state government had taken note of the HPSC incident and also taken stern action against those who were found guilty. He added that the investigation in the case was going on and anybody found guilty will not be spared.
Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda raised the demand for a CBI probe and also demanded removal of HPSC chairman. “The entire scam has raised serious doubts on the role of chairman of HPSC since the cash was recovered from possession of Deputy Secretary Anil Nagar. The bribe money exchanged hands in such a blatant manner, which could not have happened without the knowledge of the chairman.”
Reading out the WhatsApp chat, purportedly between the HPSC chairman and deputy secretary Anil Nagar, Hooda said, “It is a deep-rooted scandal. The government should get all these recruitments probed by a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge-monitored CBI probe. The government can also get probed all the recruitments that took place during Congress tenure and all those that took place during it’s own tenure.”
Various Congress MLAs insisted that the CM should announce a CBI probe on the floor of the House. However, when they failed to get any such assurances, they went to the well of the House and lodged a strong protest. Eventually, when they failed to get any assurance even after the CM’s reply in the House, they walked out. Independent MLA Balraj Kundu said, “HPSC chairman cannot be considered alien to this entire scandal and needs to be dismissed.” Congress MLA Jagbir Malik, Geeta Bhukkal and various others also demanded that a CBI probe should be conducted into the HPSC recruitment scandal. Another MLA, Sombir Sangwan, said that after former chief minister Bansi Lal, it was Manohar Lal Khattar who tried to bring reforms to the recruitment system, but he has also not succeeded yet.
Chief Minister’s reply
Replying to the assertions of Opposition members of the House, Khattar said, “The Commission makes recruitment of Group A and B posts. One Chairman and five members are appointed in the Commission at present. The advertisement for 135 posts of HCS (Ex branch) ad other allied services-2021 was issued on February 26, 2021. For these posts, 1,48,262 candidates applied. Preliminary examination was conducted on September 12 in 535 examination centres in 13 districts. The result was declared on September 24 in which 2041 candidates were shortlisted for main examination.”
Khattar said, “The advertisement for 81 posts was issued on February 25, 2021. For this, 7,891 candidates applied, written examination was conducted on September 26 in 29 examination centres situated in Panchkula and the result was declared on November 10, in which 220 candidates were shortlisted for interview.”
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