New Delhi, Nov. 25: The Supreme Court today directed the CBI to probe chief minister Om Prakash Chautala’s role in the Haryana teacher recruitment scam.
A division bench of Justices R.C. Lahoti and Ashok Bhan asked the bureau to complete the probe within six months and register a formal case “if it found that materials collected during the investigation disclosed commission of an offence”.
The directive came on a petition that in the appointment of 4,000 junior basic training teachers, Chautala had replaced applicants selected after exams and interviews with his own list of candidates.
Petitioner Sanjeev Kumar, an IAS officer and former director of education of the state, also contended that Chautala had threatened him with “dire consequences” if he did not “substitute” the list of those selected with the one he had supplied.
The state made counter-allegations against Kumar, and the apex court said: “Keeping in view the allegations made against Kumar by the Haryana government”, the CBI should also probe the role of the bureaucrat and other officers.
“Rampant corruption in the corridors of politics and bureaucracy” was eating into the vitals of democracy, the judges said.
The court’s probe order echoed its earlier directive for a CBI inquiry into the conduct of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati in the Rs 175-crore Taj heritage corridor scam.
“Little people of the country have high hopes from the CBI, the prime investigating agency, which works and gives results. We hope and trust the sentinels of the CBI would justify the confidence of the people and this court reposed in them,” the judges said.
The court said a stay issued earlier on a departmental inquiry against Kumar, initiated by the state government, would continue till the CBI investigation was complete. Thereafter, the probe could resume “only with the permission of the court”.
The apex court also directed Delhi police to continue providing security to the petitioner.
The case dates back to November 1999, when the state government advertised 4,000 vacancies for primary teachers to be filled up through 19 district level selection committees.
But even after the selection was completed, the list was not made public, the petition contended.
It said that then director of primary education Rajni Sekhri Sibbal kept the original list in a sealed cover in a sealed almirah.
The petition alleged that Sanjeev Kumar, who succeeded Sibbal, was “pressurised by the political leadership, including Chautala”, to substitute the list of selected candidates with the one handed by the chief minister.
Defying the political directive, on November 7, 2000, the petitioner opened the sealed cover containing the original list of selected candidates and got it videotaped and photographed. He then appointed candidates who figured on the original list.
Less than a month later, Kumar was transferred from the post of director of primary education, the petition said.
Kumar has claimed that he has in his possession “all the false and fabricated select lists of 19 districts duly signed by members of 19 district selection committee”, prepared at the behest of the chief minister six months after the committees had given the original lists.