SSC exam scam: Modi govt violated rules in appointing Gujarat cadre officer as SSC Chairman, reveals RTI

The DoPT documents show that Khurana hadn’t even applied for the position of the head of SSC when it was first advertised on May 14, 2015

Swaraj India leader Anupam (holding up a document) said that an RTI reply had revealed that the appointment of SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana was in violation of rules/ NH photo by Vipin
Swaraj India leader Anupam (holding up a document) said that an RTI reply had revealed that the appointment of SSC Chairman Ashim Khurana was in violation of rules/ NH photo by Vipin
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Dhairya Maheshwari

Ashim Khurana, the chairman of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), was appointed as the head of the government recruitment agency in violation of laid down rules by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), it has been revealed through a Right to Information (RTI) reply.

Moreover, the one-year extension afforded to Khurana, a 1983 batch Gujarat cadre officer, in 2018 contravened the government rules.

The revelations were made by Swaraj India vice-president Anupam at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The information lends a fresh impetus to allegations against Khurana, who is at the centre of a CBI probe after question papers of SSC exams were allegedly leaked on social media in February last year. Thousands of SSC aspirants had hit the streets asking for a CBI probe. A reluctant Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had eventually ceded to the demand for a CBI probe after over ten days of protests by younger job-seekers.

The recently revealed DoPT documents show that Khurana hadn’t even applied for the position of the head of SSC when it was first advertised on May 14, 2015.

“Ashim Khurana was neither among the two shortlisted candidates, nor among four. His name wasn't even among those 35 applicants. This means that Ashim Khurana, who was made the SSC Chairman, didn't even apply for the post,” said Anupam, citing the information accessed by RTI.

As per minutes of the Selection Committee meeting on August 17, 2015, Khurana’s name didn’t feature in the list of four shortlisted candidates who were called for an interview on August 31. The four candidates were Aninda Majumdar, DD Sharma, Amitabh Khare and AK Dash.

Further, two candidates — DD Sharma and Amitabh Khare —were shortlisted for the job by the Selection Committee in a meeting held on September 30, 2015.

However, instead of sending the two shortlisted names to the Cabinet Committee, a revised list of three candidates was prepared and send to the Cabinet Committee for approval. The documents show that Ashim Khurana’s name featured right on top of the new list.

“Just before sending the list of shortlisted candidates to the Cabinet Committee, Selection Committee, surprisingly, decided to look for new candidates, in clear violation of rules. Then, keeping the name of 1983-batch Gujarat Cadre officer Ashim Khurana at the top of priority list, the selection committee recommended three names to Cabinet Committee,” noted Anupam.

Further, Ashim Khurana was well behind the age of 59 when he was appointed as the SSC chairman, which was another violation of the appointment rules.

“Being well over 59 years old, Ashim Khurana was ineligible for the post as he did not even meet the age-specific requirements,” said Swaraj Party.

A Presidential directive was issued on December 22, 2015, stating that Khurana had been appointed as the Chairman of the SSC retrospectively from Dec 9.

SSC exam scam: Modi govt violated rules in appointing Gujarat cadre officer as SSC Chairman, reveals RTI

Khurana linked to the SSC scam?

Interestingly, Anupam noted that one of the first decisions taken by Khurana after being appointed as SSC chairman was to award the contract of conducting online examinations to Sify Technologies.

“It is now evidently clear that the scams in SSC are a result of a large-scale collusion between SSC officials and Sify employees. The preliminary (CBI) FIR too substantiates these allegations,” said Anupam.

As per the FIR filed by the apex investigative agency on May 22 last year, seventeen persons, including 10 employees of Sify Technologies, allegedly colluded with certain SSC employees in leaking the examination papers.

The CBI booked the accused under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Information Technology Act.

“Prime Minister Modi is accountable to answer why were all the due procedures and protocols laid to rest to appoint Ashim Khurana as the SSC Chairman,” said Anupam.

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Published: 09 Apr 2019, 4:47 PM