BHOPAL: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has slammed Madhya Pradesh government for having shadowy control over the multi-crore scam tainted VYAPAM, eventually leading to severe erosion in credibility of the examinations conducted by the Board.
In its latest report tabled before the state assembly on Friday, the audit watchdog has also observed that “the government didn’t allow access to VYAPAM records in 2015 and 2016 to us, stating that it was not a government body.”
Detailing about the report on Friday, the Accountant General (General and Social Sector) in MP, Saurabh Mallick said VYAPAM (Vyavsayik Pariskha Mandal) or the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) was constituted in 1982 with confusion over its status.
State government declared that it would not be responsible for any act of commission or omission by VYAPAM. But later, the status of the board as a government department was accepted in various forums and through judicial pronouncements. “This shadowy control eventually led to a situation where there was severe erosion in credibility of examinations conducted by the Board,” the report stated.
The report added that posts of chairman, director and controller in the Board were filled by transfer of state government officers. Despite this, government didn’t frame any rules/regulations regarding conduct of business of the board, conduct of examination, collection and deposit of fees, financial procedures to be followed, systems to be put in place for conduct of exams and auxiliary activities in a free and fair manner, ensuring transparency and accountability and prevention of malpractices.
The report observed that appointments of directors and controllers in the Board were made by systematic subversion of rules resulting in undue favour being certain individuals. Dr Yogesh Uprit and Dr Pankaj Trivedi were appointed director and controller respectively directly on orders of the then minister in contraventions of the rules.
Importantly, Trivedi is among those Board officials who were arrested in 2013 in connection with the multi-crore VYAPAM scam presently being probed by the CBI.
The CAG report went on to mention that delay in establishment of statutory board defeated the purpose to provide greater authority and more credibility to the examination board.
It also stated that the state government didn’t take any remedial measures by framing rules/regulations to prevent the irregularities even after VYAPAM reported some cases of irregularities in conduct of examination and despite the objection of an incumbent minister of the government.
Also, there is no evidence that the state government ensured integrity of the IT based system used in the examination conducted by the board.
The fund of the board was kept outside government account and it was not subjected to budgetary control of state legislature. The board, however, had no hesitation in transferring Rs 13.75 crores of board’s fund to other organisations for activities not connected with VYAPAM.
Further, the CAG report stated that recruitment examinations for state level posts were transferred to the Board in April 2003 in an unprecedented manner. There was no augmentation of manpower/established system to handle the new function.
Conduct of recruitment examination, a primary function of the government to ensure free and fair recruitment to its own services, which was till now being conducted by the Public Service Commission/Government Departments, was jettisoned in favour of an institution which was neither statutory nor independent, nor functioned under well laid out regulations and went against well established judicial and constitutional pronouncements, concluded the report.