Shillong, Nov. 2: A “surprised” Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today declared that his government would “find the source” of the news about CBI findings on the alleged anomalies in the appointment of assistant teachers in government lower primary schools, where his cabinet colleague Ampareen Lyngdoh has been virtually nailed by the investigating agency.
“I am surprised how this news went to the press. It is very surprising and calls for the government to find its source,” Sangma told reporters on the sidelines of a function when asked to comment on the CBI findings.
Sangma was not only surprised, he went on to claim that the matter was sub-judice.
“As you are aware, the issue is sub-judice. It is still in the domain of the high court and the court has passed certain observations vis-à-vis all these findings. Even I am not privy to the report and I have not had the opportunity to look at whatever has appeared in the newspapers.”
At present, however, the case is not pending before the Shillong bench of Gauhati High Court.
On August 16, a division bench of the court, comprising Justice Anima Hazarika and Justice K. Meruno, had directed the state government to constitute a high-level scrutiny committee of officials “without any stigma” to scrutinise and review the records regarding the candidature of the selected and unselected candidates so as to ascertain the legality/basis of such selection or non-selection.
The bench had also ruled that the writ appeals of the state government did not specifically contain any ground or prayer for quashing the CBI enquiry report.
“The writ appeals are disposed off with the directions and compliances as indicated herein above,” the bench had said while directing the committee to complete the scrutiny within six months from the date of the judgement.
Moreover, the chief minister told reporters, “It (the news) is something which has drawn the attention of the government and I have spoken to chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat and we will have to find out how it is happening.”
In its 107-page report, the CBI had stated: “In the course of his examination, J.D. Sangma said under the instruction of the then education minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, he had to change the score sheet prepared by all the five boards by duly applying white fluid on the original marks awarded by the members of the board.”
Sangma is the director of the school education and literacy department which was previously known as the directorate of mass and elementary education.
The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), the oldest regional party in the state, and the Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) have asked the state government to take strong action against those who were involved in the tampering of the results of the candidates.
“The CBI findings, where several MLAs were involved, are shocking and unbelievable. HSPDP demands strong action against these so called people’s representatives who were involved directly or indirectly in appointing incapable teachers,” HSPDP spokesperson G. Nonglong said in a statement.
The party also sought clarification from political parties like the Congress and UDP.
FKJGP president Joe Marwein demanded that the entire result should be scrapped and a fresh examination and interview for the posts be conducted. He also said that Ampareen, who is the urban affairs minister, should immediately step down.
The Meghalaya BJP has demanded an “independent inquiry” into the issue.