From Staff Correspondent
Shillong, Nov 2: Six years after the education scam was first reported, the Meghalaya High Court on Thursday handed over investigation of the scam, involving several politicians in the State, to the CBI and asked it to complete the inquiry within six months.
The education scam emerged after the Shillong Bench of Gauhati High Court on 21st October 2011 directed the CBI to inquire into the alleged anomalies in the appointment of teachers and the report of the same was submitted to the court in 2012. And on 14th March 2012, the Shillong bench forwarded the CBI’s inquiry report to the State Education department for necessary action.
Since then, the matter has been lingering on, even as the CBI unearthed the anomalies in the recruitment process and asked the State government to take necessary action. Precious little was done and the case reached the Meghalaya High Court before a tough ruling was issued on Thursday.
The high court also slammed the State government-appointed High Level Scrutiny Committee (HLSC) whose exercise was found “farcical” and “a cover-up” aimed at shielding those who had polluted the system and who ought to have been sternly dealt with.
“It is directed that the CBI shall carry out similar ture inquiry, as carried out earlier in pursuance of the order dated 21.10.2011 and shall similarly segregate the tainted and untainted candidates and submit its report to the Chief Secretary within six months from today,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Prakash Vaish said in an order.
The Bench also directed the State government to hand over the entire record relating to all the examition centres at Shillong, Jowai, Amlarem, Tura and Dadengre to the CBI without fail.
The Bench, which had noted that the earlier scrutiny committee of the government had failed to attend to the “crux of the matter”, has however, constituted a three-member scrutiny committee headed by the Chief Secretary and two members – a bureaucrat and a member from a State or a Central university – to examine the report of the CBI and carry out further inquiry as considered necessary and submit its report to the State government for taking action as per law.
As far as the candidates whose appointments were found tainted, the high court Bench said they could approach the scrutiny committee for reconsideration of their case.
The court also scrapped the selection made in the five centres due to the interference of political representatives, including then Speaker, Education Minister and several other legislators and members of top government bodies.
The court noted the fact that the public representatives “interfered” to a large extent and with impunity reducing the entire process to a “mockery”.