Job scam rocks APPSC
Governor orders inquiry A woman broker allegedly tried to sell jobs We don't know candidates...
- Governor orders inquiry
- A woman broker allegedly tried to sell jobs
- We don't know candidates beforehand: APPSC
- Member Sitaramaraju denies all allegations
- Says the alleged broker is only a friend of his
Hyderabad: The alleged cash-for-job scandal that rocked the AP Public Service Commission (APPSC) has created tremors in government circles. While the Chairman of the Commission, Chittaranjan Biswal insisted that the job selection is fair, Governor ESL Narasimhan stated that only a thorough probe, which he had ordered, would unravel the truth behind the alleged sale of jobs and that no decision could be taken on the basis of media reports.
Sitaramaraju, the main accused in the scandal, feigned ignorance of the alleged dealings by a woman broker Sandhyarani. But he admitted that he had known her for the past two years as she used to visit Gandhi Bhavan. This is the second incident in less than three months that a member of APPSC got mired in a controversy over the sale of jobs. Ripunjaya Reddy, another member, had to resign after ACB sleuths seized large sums of cash and ornaments that were disproportionate to his known sources of income. Reddy is now facing trial.
In the present case, Sitaramaraju is accused of having close links with some of the biggies in the government. An internal inquiry as well as police investigation has been ordered after a news channel aired a 'sting operation' which showed that a woman by name Sandhyarani, who had links with some of the Members of APPSC, promised the job of a lecturer in a government polytechnic college for a sum of Rs 10 lakh. She also allegedly tried to broker for a brake inspector's post for a whopping amount.
Though Sitaramaraju feigned ignorance on the alleged dealings by her, the sting operation revealed that he was in the house of Sandhyarani. Speaking to ABN-Andhra Jyothy, Sitaramaraju categorically denied having any association with Sandhyarani and said that he was in her house by 'accident'. "I knew her for the past two years as she used to come to Gandhi Bhavan. She invited me for lunch and I went there. That's it. I have not taken a single pie either from her or from anyone. Sale of jobs is just an allegation which is totally false and malicious," he told during the course of an interview to the news channel. He even denied having played cards in the house of Sandhyarani. He said he does not know how to play cards.
When he went there he saw the cards lying there and he just picked them up but did not play any game. However, he asked if it was any wrong that he went for lunch to a friend's house. Sitaramaraju had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls in 2004 from Chandrayanagutta and moved in the corridors of power after Congress government took over. Many eyebrows were raised when he was appointed as a member of APPSC by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.
When confronted with the issue, the Governor told the media at Tiruchanur that the issue had come to his notice, but he cannot just depend on the news that had appeared in the media. "Let the probe report come and I will take an appropriate action after a detailed study" he said. He further said, "I called for a special detailed probe into all irregularities including the latest one.
The investigation has already started and the report is expected soon. Unless I know the facts, I cannot take any action," he added.
'Merit is the criterion'
Facing a volley of questions, APPSC chairman Chittaranjan Biswal sought to put up a brave front, saying all the appointments were made on the basis of merit only. "Let me tell you, as far as Commission is concerned, merit is the only basis. No member knows the name and other details of any candidate beforehand. The names and details of the candidates are sent in a sealed cover to the Board just five minutes before the start of the interview. So, there is no chance of any deal before the interview," he explained.
There are five Boards and each Board will have four to six members for conducting interviews. To a pointed question on the possibility of some members getting influenced for certain considerations, the Chairman reacted that one should not assume that all the members were corrupt.
When asked if morality demands that the 'tainted' member be kept away from his responsibilities till the probe is over, Biswal was evasive: "in any case, no interviews were taking place now." Biswal also announced that some new notifications for recruitment were on the anvil. When asked how the process can be taken up when some of the members were facing corruption charges, he stressed that notifications had nothing to do with the members and both were different aspects.