Stand firm

Corruption, malpractice and favouritism in selection of candidates of administrative services examinations in several states have become a frequent phenomenon.

 Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and many other states have had several such cases in which scores of genuine candidates were denied their rightful government jobs which went to those who had paid hefty bribes. Karnataka is no exception as a scandal exploded in 2011 in which Group A and B posts in the examination held by the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) were up for sale. After a thorough inquiry which established the malice, the state cabinet’s decision to scrap the scam-ridden gazetted probationers’ examination for 362 Karnataka Administrative Services posts is a welcome one. 

With this, the cabinet has sent a strong message against irregularities in the selection of candidates. However, having scrapped the selections, it is now incumbent on the government to identify all those involved in the scam and prosecute them for the offences committed. Those responsible for selling the jobs should be accorded punishment as per law and no mercy should be shown on them. Still, it is wrong to assume that all the successful candidates had paid bribe to get selected. There may be genuine candidates too and they should not feel let down. It is appropriate that they are given sufficient chances and the cabinet has taken the right step here too. The state government’s decision was the outcome of a commendable investigation by the CID which submitted a report running into 26 volumes. The agency found that KPSC members were paid crores of rupees to secure jobs of assistant commissioner, revenue; deputy SP; assistant commissioner of commercial taxes; tahsildar; and state accounts officer.

 The CID examined 215 witnesses, scrutinised 700 phone records, went through documents from 75 branches of 55 banks, authenticated mark sheets and got the papers re-evaluated from experts. Now, the state government should focus on having checks and balances in the system and ensure that such recruitment scams do not recur. There is a need to clean up the corruption-ridden KPSC and in this regard, the government has initiated a slew of measures by accepting the P C Hota committee, set up to review systems and procedures for a free, fair and merit-based selection by the Commission. There is, at the same time, need to give protection to Dr HPS Mythri, candidate and whistleblower, who blew the lid off the recruitment scam. 

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