Haryana govt ‘sus­pends’ HSSC chief de­spite no le­gal pro­vi­sion

Bharat Bhushan Bharti has been in­volved in con­tro­ver­sies ear­lier; set up in­quiry panel, says CM

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTPUNJAB&HARYANA - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

CHANDI­GARH: The Haryana gov­ern­ment ‘sus­pended’ Haryana Staff Se­lec­tion Com­mis­sion (HSSC) chair­man Bharat Bhushan Bharti on Thurs­day — even though there is no such pro­vi­sion in the Act gov­ern­ing the com­mis­sion — fol­low­ing a con­tro­versy that sparked af­ter an al­legedly in­sult­ing ques­tion about Brah­mins was asked in a re­cently-held com­pet­i­tive writ­ten ex­am­i­na­tion.

“While sus­pend­ing the HSSC chair­man with im­me­di­ate ef­fect and de­cid­ing to give charge to an­other mem­ber, the CM also or­dered to set up an in­quiry com­mis­sion, likely to be headed by a re­tired high court judge, to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue,” Ram Bi­las Sharma, ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, said in a news con­fer­ence.

“Be­sides, an FIR will also be regis­tered against the Del­hibased com­pany that was hired to pre­pare the ques­tion pa­per, the pa­per-set­ter and the pub­lisher of the book in which this deroga­tory ques­tion was writ­ten,” Sharma said.

The min­is­ter, how­ever, kept mum de­spite be­ing re­peat­edly asked to spell-out the pro­vi­sion un­der which the HSSC chair­man could be sus­pended.

Till late evening, the chief sec­re­tary’s of­fice had not is­sued the or­ders to ‘sus­pend’ Bharti, a se­nior gov­ern­ment func­tionary said.

BAD TIMES FOR HSSC

Af­ter the cash for job scam hit the HSSC in April, in which its four em­ploy­ees were ar­rested, the re­cruit­ment body got into an­other rag­ing con­tro­versy for ask­ing a ques­tion in the April 10 writ­ten ex­am­i­na­tion of Ju­nior En­gi­neers (Jes-civil), the omi­nous per­son among four cat­e­gories in­clud­ing the dark-skinned Brah­min (kala brah­min) and the Brah­min girl.

The rag­ing con­tro­versy has brought un­der spot­light the func­tion­ing of the HSSC chair­man Bharti, who is per­ceived to be a close con­fi­dant of Haryana chief min­is­ter (CM) Manohar Lal Khat­tar.

Khat­tar too was on the back­foot on this is­sue af­ter the op­po­si­tion raked up the mat­ter and min­is­ters of the Khat­tar cab­i­net started seek­ing high-level probe.

On Wed­nes­day, fi­nance min­is­ter Capt Ab­hi­manyu had sought a high-level probe into the is­sue. “This ex­pres­sion is not only against the so­ci­ety but also anti-women and racist. This does not sync with our ide­ol­ogy of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Haryana Ek - Haryanvi Ek,” Capt Ab­hi­manyu wrote in his May 11 com­mu­ni­ca­tion to Bharti.

Now, Thurs­day’s dam­age con­trol­ling step ap­par­ently comes af­ter prominent lead­ers led by BJP Ra­jya Sabha MP Lt Gen DP Vats (retd) met Khat­tar here. Among oth­ers were Naresh Kaushik, Mool Chand Sharma, Tek Chand Sharma and Di­nesh Kuashik (MLAS).

The ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter said, “The CM has ac­cepted that ask­ing this deroga­tory ques­tion was a huge blun­der…the com­mit­tee to be set up af­ter the ad­vice of the ad­vo­cate gen­eral (AG) will specif­i­cally ex­am­ine the role of the HSSC.”

He said the HSSC chair­man will re­main ‘sus­pended’ until the in­quiry was com­pleted.

He said the FIR will be lodged on Thurs­day it­self at Panchkula.

“The pre­vi­ous Congress gov­ern­ment is not re­motely linked with this mat­ter…it is for the first time that such a de­fam­ing ques­tion was asked in the com­pet­i­tive ex­am­i­na­tion,” he said, point­ing out that the gov­ern­ment didn’t ac­cept the writ­ten apol­ogy of the com­pany con­tracted for set­ting the pa­per.

The gov­ern­ment has black­listed the com­pany and pub­lisher from all fu­ture as­sign­ments.

Dur­ing the Bud­get ses­sion also, the HSSC chair­man was un­der fire from the op­po­si­tion INLD and the Congress af­ter a CD per­tain­ing to a graft case sur­faced. INLD de­manded re­moval of Bharti. Both the INLD and Congress leg­is­la­tors had dis­rupted the assem­bly pro­ceed­ings over charges of al­leged bribe for a mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil (MC) chair­per­son’s post.

At the cen­tre of the Inlds­pear­headed at­tack on the gov­ern­ment, was a se­cretly recorded au­dio al­legedly in­volv­ing two mid­dle-rung state BJP lead­ers talk­ing about how ₹75 lakh was al­legedly paid to be­come a mu­nic­i­pal com­mit­tee (MC) chair­per­son last, forc­ing the CM to set up a vig­i­lance probe.

An FIR will also be regis­tered against the Delhi­based com­pany that pre­pared the ques­tion pa­per, the pa­per­set­ter and pub­lisher of the book in which this deroga­tory ques­tion was there. RAM BI­LAS SHARMA, Haryana ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter

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