The controversy surrounding alleged nepotism and irregularities in the Chhattisgarh Public Service Commission (CGPSC) does not seem to be dying soon. After the High Court stayed the appointments of around a dozen selected candidates, citing too much coincidence in their selection, the senior leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has once again come all guns blazing on the ruling Congress party.
Citing wide-scale irregularities and nepotism in the PSC examination, the State’s senior BJP leader and former Chief Minister, Raman Singh, has now demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry into the matter.
The BJP stalwart, in a letter to PM Modi, has once again alleged that around 1.5 lakhs of candidates participate in the State PSC examination through which selection for prominent posts of State Government is made. The majority of the candidates participating in the examination hail from middle-class families. However, this is the first time that the youths are disappointed and agitated due to wide-scale nepotism and lack of transparency.
Further, while citing the observation made by the High Court, the former CM in the letter said that “the top 18 names of the selected candidates in the 2021 PSC examinations are of close relatives of the then PSC chairman, other top bureaucrats and congress leaders. The selection of these candidates triggered a sense of disappointment and anger in the youths of the State following which former Home Minister Nanhki Ram Kanwar filed a petition before the High Court. Hearing upon which the Court not only schooled the Government but has also stayed the appointments of as many as 13 candidates given the fact a total of 5 appointments have already been done.”
The letter further read vast scale irregularities and fraud have also surfaced in the valuation and interviews of the candidates in the 2022 PSC mains examination, including giving numbers without answers, selection of candidates despite lower marks and vice versa. The youths of the State also have no confidence in the State Government enquiry and allege that the selection of the top candidates has been made for monetary benefits right under the nose of the State Government. Additionally, the denial of CM Bhupesh Baghel that he has not received any complaint from the youths pertaining to irregularities has further shaken the beliefs of the youth in the State Government as not only have the youths submitted a written complaint to the CM but also have organised protest against the mishap.
The former CM, who ran the mineral-rich State for fifteen years, further in the letter highlighted the consecutive notification issued by the commission in March and June this year pertaining to rule amendments and tender for disposal of useless question papers, OMR sheets and other documents. In the end, the saffron party stalwart, while requesting the PM for a CBI enquiry into the matter, quoted that to save the future of the youths of Chhattisgarh, we request you to ensure a fair and thorough enquiry by the CBI.
High Court observation on CGPSC row
It is to be noted that earlier, the Bilaspur High Court had issued a notice to the commission asking for an explanation about the alleged irregularities in the selection of the candidates in the 2021 PSC examination.
Hearing a petition filed by the Former Minister and senior BJP leader Nanki Ram Kanwar, the division bench led by Chief Justice Ramesh Sinha observed that the selection of the Chairman’s and Secretary’s children is unprecedented.
In a video which also went viral on social media, the division bench was noticed expressing their disappointment over the selection of the candidates who are close relatives of the PSC chairman and other officials. While terming the selection of all these candidates as too much of a coincidence, the Court issued a notice to the PSC, citing that the council for the petitioner stated the appointment of the close relatives of the PSC chairman, other officials and leaders of the ruling party is biased.
Later on, the Court halted the appointments of as many as 13 candidates from the list submitted by Kanwar’s councillor, given the fact that the appointments of as many as 5 candidates had already been processed.
Allegation of Nepotism and fraud in CGPSC 2021 examination
It is to be noted that the State’s Public Service Commission has been on the receiving end after it declared the list of successful candidates for CGPSC 2021 in April this year. The list includes relatives of a few congress leaders, senior bureaucrats, along with seasoned businessmen. The list also includes one ‘Nitesh’ whose surname has also been kept hidden; he is said to be the adopted son of the then Commission’s Chairman, Tamam Sonwani.
After the news of irregularities went viral on social media through an anonymous post, the State’s main Opposition BJP had turned guns on the Bhupesh Baghels led Government as its youth wing launched a statewide protest against the alleged nepotism and fraud in the examination held in 2021.
Further, senior leaders of the party, including State President Arun Sao, Gaurishankar Srivas and former IAS OP Chaudhary, while raising objections on the process, had demanded that a retired Judge should investigate the whole selection process.
Following protest and allegation of wide-scale irregularities in the PSC examination, another BJP leader and former minister, Nanhki Ram Kanwar, had filed a petition against the selection of as many as 18 candidates, hearing on which the division bench sought an explanation from PSC.
Recently, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) students have also hit the streets against the alleged malpractices and irregularities in the PSC examinations.
.@abvpcg द्वारा CGPSC घोटाला, महिला उत्पीडन और चरमराई कानून व्यवस्था सहित विभिन्न मुद्दों को लेकर रायपुर में #छात्र_आक्रोश_रैली का आयोजन किया गया जिसमें राष्ट्रीय महामंत्री श्री @yagywalkya और सह संगठन मंत्री श्री @PrafullaAkant विशेष रूप से उपस्थित रहे।#AakroshRallyRaipur pic.twitter.com/6g45VGyzv0
— ABVP (@ABVPVoice) October 6, 2023
Recent verbal exchange
Notably, after the BJP State leadership on many occasions aggressively engaged in verbal exchange with the Congress leaders over the alleged irregularities and nepotism in the PSC examinations, PM Modi, in his recent visit to the State, has also promised to initiate a fair enquiry into the matter if voted to power.
Addressing an impressive gathering in Bastar, the PM said that “the Congress party has deprived the youths of the state while settling their own kith and kin. I want to assure you that if the BJP forms a Government it would investigate the ‘PSC Scam’ and no matter how powerful are the perpetrators, PM Modi will put them behind the bars.”
However, refuting the claims of the BJP leaders and PM Modi, CM Bhupesh Baghel has said that so far, he has not received any formal complaint from the candidates, and he will definitely act and conduct an enquiry if anyone approaches him with the complaint.
It is to be noted that the tribal majority of Chhattisgarh is witnessing a fierce campaign for the State assembly elections scheduled to be held at the end of this year, where the incumbent Congress Government and the main Opposition BJP have been giving it all to secure a majority in the central Bharatiya State.