They did not use cheat sheets. Instead, over 50 applicants for government jobs sent in surrogates to take the recruitment test in Haryana.
In response to an RTI application that was stalled several times before, the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) on Thursday ordered a probe into the matter, to be conducted by the highest office of the Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). A report has to be submitted within two months.
"It is shocking that the department tried to stonewall the information sought by the petitioner even though he had presented enough proof," said CIC Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu.
"I was surprised that people didn't even bother to inquire into these allegations of impersonation despite the fact that 11 separate RTIs were filed and the appellant had provided names and particulars of all the 11 accused of impersonation. Today 11 such cases of impersonation were put up in front of me, but the RTI also suggests that there are 52 cases in total. The appellant said that 800 such cases are there across the country."
The recruitment examination comprised a written test and one in computer skills.
Gurugram-based Right to Information activist Harinder Dhingra, who is the petitioner in the case, told Mail Today that he was shocked to find that signatures on the admit card and attendance sheet in the written exam of the these candidates, who later were appointed as lower division clerks, were "quite different" from the signatures of those who sat the exam on September 20, 2009.
"It is clear that those who took the exam were not appointed as LDC in ESIC," said Dhingra.
"Now the truth regarding this scam is sure to come out after so many years in which these forgers and impersonators have not only flourished on public exchequer, but some of them have also been promoted and become inspectors. While I have dug up over 50 such cases so far, the total number across India is sure to touch a thousand. While the Haryana chapter is closed, I am preparing to file RTI pleas in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh where such cases are suspected."
The ESIC is an autonomous corporation by a statutory creation under the Centre's ministry of labour and employment.
Dhingra had sought information on February 25, 2016, about the selection of several selected personnel as LDC in a test conducted in Faridabad by the ESIC on September 20, 2009. He had asked for the admit cards to the exam, the attendance sheets, entrance permission/card, marks obtained in the "computer skill test" along with thumb impressions.
"The CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) refused to provide me the information seeking exemption under article 8 (1) of the RTI Act-2005," said Dhingra. "I again filed an appeal before first appellate authority who ordered the CPIO on May 31, 2016, that information be provided to me. I was supplied in September last year all the info except the thumb impression of the candidates who appeared in the exam."