NEW DELHI: The scam in the appointment of State and District Coordinators for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Castes under the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman, Panna Lal Punia, came to light when officials noted the haste with which NCSC informed some of the coordinators that they no longer represent the commission and their appointments are being cancelled. This sudden move raised further suspicions in the establishment and the PMO has asked for the files to be thoroughly examined.
“They must have got a whiff of probe ordered by PMO and tried to do a cover-up by cancelling the appointments. However, this move rang alarm bells in the PMO which has asked for a probe,” sources added.
The Sunday Standard has reviewed the notes regarding the ongoing probe which suggests that the ‘Office Order’ related to the appointments were not copied to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The letters were only sent to the appointees, with a copy to State’s Commission Office. A third copy was kept in the reference folder of the NCSC office in New Delhi. Most of these appointments were made during 2012-2013 and till February in 2014 when UPA-II was in power.
Dr. Mahesh Ramjibhai Sonara was appointed as State Coordinator for Scheduled Castes for Gujarat in March 2013. An office order related to his appointment said, “He will look after the coordination work relating to representation/grievances of SCs as mandated under Article 338 of Indian Constitution.” The letter does not specify any fixed tenure for Sonara’s appointment. The letter is not marked to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
When contacted, Sonara said his appointment was cancelled last mont. “Someone from the commission called up and informed me that I’m no longer state coordinator. No specific reasons were given to me,” Sonara said.
Maulana Umar Qasmi was also appointed as State Coordinator Madhya Pradesh for OBC. He too claimed to have received a call from NCSC last month intimating that his position no longer exists. Qasmi still identifies himself as the ‘State Coordinator of OBC, NCSC, Government of India’ on his Twitter account. “Now, I look after Party (Congress) affairs in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. I was informed last month that my appointment has been cancelled,” Qasmi said.
Raju Parmar, NCSC member and former Congress MP, refused to divulge details on both his appointment and its cancellation. Parmar said they were appointed by Punia and doesn’t know why positions were cancelled.
“It was done by the chairman so I’m in no position to give details on either appointments or cancellations,” Parmar said. Punia couldn’t be reached for comment. A source in the ministry said most of these appointments in the prima facie appear to be politically motivated and the government would take action once the inquiry is over.