After the Vyapam scam shook Madhya Pradesh in 2013, the state education department is in the grip of another recruitment scam. Massive irregularities have been detected in the recruitment of nurses and paramedical staff by two prominent medical colleges in Madhya Pradesh - Gajra Raja Medical College in Gwalior and Datia Medical College in Datia.
Whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi explains the recruitment scam
The Madhya Pradesh state education department had earlier served notices to both the medical colleges seeking explanation on the anomalies. The Probe has accessed internal documents of the state education department that mentions that the medical colleges had conducted recruitment in violation of the guidelines released by the government.
The scam came to light after the whistleblower of the Vyapam scam, Ashish Chaturvedi wrote to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan regarding the irregularities. "I got to know through my sources that undeserving candidates were being recruited in both the Gwalior medical college and the Datia Medical College in violation of government guidelines. I met a few affected people and several others concerned with the recruitment process and got hold of the relevant documents and wrote a letter to the state Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and the Chairman of the medical colleges. But since they were not very forthcoming, I decided to approach the police with a complaint," said Ashish Chaturvedi.
Following the irregularities, Amita Sanodiya, a resident of Gopalganj in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, filed a petition before the MP High Court. In the petition, Amita contended that she had filled an online application form as an OBC candidate for recruitment to the post of Staff Nurse in Gajra Raja Medical College in Gwalior. She appeared for the Staff Nurse Examination that was held on July 10 last year. According to her, the official website showed that she had secured 43 marks, but subsequently, after two days, the said result was found to be deleted from the official website.
Whistleblower Ashish Chaturvedi in conversation with Prema Sridevi, Editor-in-Chief of The Probe on the Madhya Pradesh recruitment scam
Speaking to The Probe, Rameshwar Singh Thakur, Amita's advocate, stated: "My client who secured 43 marks was entitled to be considered in the open category (UR) as the minimum cut-off marks of UR is 38, and maximum marks of UR is 57. My client has been deprived of her selection for the post of Staff Nurse, and undeserving candidates from the general category have been favoured. This is clearly against the principles of natural justice as well as against the Reservation Policy and is a gross violation of the law."
The Madhya Pradesh education department had also served notices to the Chairman of both the Gwalior medical college and Datia Medical College after the department found that the recruitment process was conducted in violation of the laid down procedures, but so far, the government has not been able to take corrective measures and provide relief to the affected candidates.
The OBC Advocates Welfare Association had recently approached the Madhya Pradesh High Court regarding corruption in the recruitment procedure in Datia Medical College. Another petitioner in the case, Suman Lata Singh, an OBC candidate, who had appeared for the exam for recruitment to the post of Staff Nurse contends in her petition that despite securing 47 marks and her name reflecting at serial number 196 in the Staff Nurse (OBC) Merit List, she could not make it through.
Suman's petition before the Madhya Pradesh court reads: "The Datia medical college did not disclose common merit list of all category candidates on the official website and prepared the category wise selection list in which the reserved category candidates who secured more marks in comparison with the unreserved/general category candidates have not been migrated in the merit list... The college had prepared the selection list with malafide intention and caste bias."
"Meritorious candidates from SC/ST and OBC category have lost out on the opportunity. The selection process adopted by these medical colleges is inconsistent with the laid down laws and a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney vs Union of India case. Through these massive irregularities, these colleges have also violated Articles 14, 15 and 16 of our constitution," asserted Rameshwar Singh Thakur.
The High Court had earlier issued notices to both the medical colleges, and the selection process has been put on hold. The MP police have started an enquiry in the matter and the statement of Ashish Chaturvedi has been recorded in the case.
Speaking to The Probe, Chaturvedi alleged that the Madhya Pradesh education department was complicit in the case. "The Madhya Pradesh government themselves found out that the law was violated. But they did not take any stringent action except for removing the dean of the Datia Medical College. When the government got to know about the scam, they should have immediately stopped the entire process, and they should have restarted the whole recruitment procedure, but they did not do that. They should have initiated a criminal and civil action against the offenders in this case. That too didn’t happen. The most surprising part is that when the enquiry started on the issue, the college dean replied to the government that the candidates who had not been selected this time would be considered in 2029. Can you believe it? They are saying that these candidates will be considered after eight years."
Chaturvedi has also alleged that the recruitment process was carried out despite many members in the selection panel not signing on the dotted line. "In order to extend favours to the candidates on the waiting list, they did not inform the selected candidates about their selection because of which these candidates could not join. During this entire process, many selection committee members raised questions regarding the discrepancies in the selection and refused to sign the document. There was a five-member committee, despite three to four of its members not signing the document, they still carried forward with the illegal recruitment procedure".
While the recruitment process has been put on hold, hundreds of students who gave their exams in Gajra Raja Medical College and Datia Medical College are waiting for the final orders from the court.
The officials of the Madhya Pradesh education department have refused to entertain questions from the media on the recruitment scam. Both the deans of the medical colleges were also unavailable for comment.
This is not the first time Madhya Pradesh is in the thick of a recruitment scam. The vyapam scam that rocked the state in 2013 also saw the connivance of scamsters with government officials with imposters being employed to write exam papers. In the vyapam scam, the exam hall seating arrangements were manipulated, and forged answer sheets were supplied to undeserving students by bribing government officials. The exams were taken by over 3 million students, and once the scam was unearthed by the whistleblowers, many people related to the scam were found dead in mysterious circumstances.