In 2003, Sanjiv Kumar, director for primary education in Om Prakash Chautala’s Haryana government, approached the Supreme Court with two merit lists for the selection of 3,206 junior basic teachers. The candidates’ interview scores had been doctored in one of these lists, Kumar alleged; the other list contained the genuine scores. There had been 7,707 candidates originally and teachers were appointed in 2000 — on the basis of the list allegedly doctored.
As it turned out, Kumar himself was among those convicted on Wednesday, along with O P Chautala and his MLA son Ajay, in what has come to be known as the JBT scam. Kumar had allegedly connived with Chautala in changing the interview scores to favour certain candidates. The IAS officer fell out with Chautala later, hence the complaint, says the CBI’s chargesheet on the scandal.
Kumar’s predecessor, Rajni Sekhri Sibbal, too had taken on the Chautala government. In 2000, she sealed the “original list” of selected teachers, made five colleagues sign the packets and locked these up in a cupboard, apparently because she was frustrated with pressure to go with the “doctored list”. The government transferred her and replaced her with Kumar.
The vacancies had been advertised in November 1999. Since the Haryana Staff Selection Commission had been dissolved at the time, the government recruited the teachers through district-level committees headed by district education officers. The process of selection was conducted under the director for primary education’s supervision.
“Sanjiv Kumar took over additional charge of director, primary education, on July 11, 2000, with an understanding that he would act in connivance with the then chief minister; Ajay Singh Chautala (then MP); Sher Singh Badshami (political adviser to CM Chautala); and Vidya Dhar (officer on special duty to CM Chautala) and prepare a second list of interview marks by changing the interview marks in the original lists submitted by 18 district-level committees,” the CBI chargesheet says.
“Investigation disclosed that the marks lists of 18 districts were received in December 1999-January 2000 and end of July 2000 by the director. However, these marks lists were not given to the result compilation committee till September 16, 2000, for preparation of the final result with the ulterior motive to manipulate the lists to favour certain candidates,” it says.
About Kumar’s complaint, the chargesheet says, “After publication of results and during appointment, the relationship between Om Prakash Chautala and Sanjiv Kumar got strained and they fell apart. Meanwhile, a number of inquiries were initiated against Kumar by the government of Haryana. In order to counter the action, Kumar petitioned the Supreme Court.”
Among the cases the government filed against Kumar, one pertained to a scandal over the publication of textbooks. Suspended, Kumar went to court with the two lists, accusing the government of harassing him. The court on November 25, 2003, ordered the CBI to register a case against the Chautalas.
The CBI formed a special investigation team on December 14 and lodged a case six months later. Its probe extended to 24 places in the state and the number of suspects in the scam grew. After it was established that two merit lists did exist, with candidates being given different marks in each, it was found that the district-level selection committees too had signed both sets in 18 districts, CBI sources said.
Both Badshami and Vidya Dhar, Chautala’s political adviser and officer on special duty, are among the 55 convicted. Badshami is currently an MLA of the INLD, the Chautalas’ party. He remains close to the family while Dhar is said to have been won over by the current B S Hooda government. He is posted as deputy secretary, administrative reforms.