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Second CBI probe likely into education scam

Apex Court stays formation of State Scrutiny panel

SHILLONG: Trouble beckons former Education Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh as a second CBI probe into the education scam is likely since the Supreme Court on Friday referred back the case to the High Court of Meghalaya.
This was informed by advocate Kaustav Paul, who is pursuing the case on behalf of the petitioners led by Emkupar S. Syiem, on Saturday.
Paul said the court also quashed the formation of the High-level Scrutiny Committee set up by the Government for segregating the tainted from among the candidates going beyond the CBI probe into the education scam.
In fact, the Supreme Court was only making absolute the interim order of the Court delivered in April, 2014 staying the formation of the Scrutiny Committee.
The order of the Apex Court came following the petition of a group of teachers whose services were terminated as per the recommendation of the Committee, which was constituted based on the order of the Division Bench comprising Justice A. Hazarika and Justice K. Meruno of the Gauhati High Court on August 16, 2012.
Paul said this would mean that the CBI will come into the picture again to complete the task of further following up the scam.
It was after following the direction from the erstwhile Shillong Bench of the Gauhati High Court that the CBI probed the anomalies into the appointment of assistant teachers in 2009-10 or the education scam.
As per the findings, the score sheets of the deserving candidates who aspired to become teachers were tampered resulting in non-deserving candidates getting jobs. Following the probe, the CBI submitted the report in the High Court on March 5, 2012.
The 107-page CBI report said, “It was felt necessary to examine J.D Sangma, the then Director DEME. In course of his examination by the CBI, Sangma has stated that under the instruction of the then Minister of Education, Ampareen Lyngdoh, he had to change the score sheets as prepared by all the five boards duly applying white fluid on the original marks, as awarded by the members of the Board. Sangma also handed over a file containing the list received by the Minister from different persons/ MLAs/ ministers recommending the names of their own candidates for selection as teacher in LP schools in Meghalaya.”
Later, the Government filed a petition in the Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court for the constitution of High-level Scrutiny Committee instead of taking action against the findings of the CBI.
There was criticism against the move of the State Government to constitute a committee at a time when the CBI had already found anomalies in the appointment of LP school teachers in 2009-10 and moreover, the investigating agency had also named the former Education Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh and Education official JD Sangma among others for their alleged role in the scam.
Questions were also raised on the objectivity of the Committee as its chairman and the members were from the Education Department.
Another concern was that while no action was taken against the higher-ups involved in the education scam, the services of the teachers were terminated by the Education Department.
Moreover, the Committee did not go into the details of the role played by the then education minister in the appointment of teachers.
Earlier in April 2014, while hearing the case, the Division Bench of the Supreme Court had referred to the submission of Mukul Rohatgi, the senior counsel for the petitioners, who said the “CBI report had indicated that high officials including the Minister were involved in the scam.”
Rohatgi had also referred to the order of the Gauhati High Court that favoured the constitution of the Committee to segregate the tainted and the non-tainted teachers.
He had made a submission before the Supreme Court that “the High-level Committee included the officers against whom certain observations have been made in the CBI report”.
Rohatgi also argued that there is no justification for limiting the inquiry only to five centres (Shillong, Jowai, Amlarem, Tura and Dadenggre).

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