Nothing hinders the progress of a state more than the corruption of its own elected leaders. Those who come to power based on promises to serve and improve the living conditions of the people are duty bound to stay honest and committed to their ideals. Sadly, in India corruption at the highest quarters persists. The Teachers Recruitment Scam, better known as the JBT Scam is one such instance in which Haryana's political system was abused to make a few politicians wealthy at the cost of children's education.
In 1999, a massive recruitment drive was launched in 18 of the 21 districts of Haryana. The initiative was meant to fulfill the many vacancies and solve the acute shortfall of teachers in the state. About 3,206 vacancies were advertised for. The scam came to light in 2003 when the Director of Primary Education (DPE), 1989 batch IAS officer, Sanjeev Kumar had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court alleging that Mr. Om Prakash Chautala, the Indian National Lok Dal or INLD leader, and his aides had pressurised him to substitute the lists of selected teachers with fake ones. He accused the government of massive corruption and illegal practices in the recruitment of these Junior Basic Trained (JBT) teachers. As evidence to the courts, Mr. Kumar produced 15 award lists which he claimed were fake and said that he had implemented the original list despite undue political pressure. CBI took charge of the investigation and revealed that the Chautala administration was involved in the scam.
According to the CBI (later noted by the Supreme Court), the then CM, Mr. Chautala had orchestrated the JBT scam by moving the recruitment from the purview of the Staff Selection Commission to the DPE. He had also masterminded the transfer of Mr. Kumar s predecessors R. P. Chander and Rajni Shekri Sibal IAS officers who had remained honest and did not fall in line with his plans.
Mr. Chuatala had allegedly received a bribe of INR 3 - 4 lakhs from each teacher who was recruited. Apart from him, his son, Ajay Chautala, and 53 others, a majority of who were district-level selection committee functionaries were involved in the preparation of fake lists of teachers. Mr. Chautala then asked Mr. Kumar to replace the list of original recruits with the one he had prepared. Mr. Kumar had complied and secretly swapped the lists.
Former Chief Minister of Haryana Om Prakash Chautala, his son Ajay Chautala, and 53 other people were convicted after a high-profile trial that lasted 4 years. Mr. Chautala was sentenced to ten years in prison by the special CBI court. He has currently been granted bail on health grounds.
In India, scams are often a part of politics. In this case, however, the gross abuse of public trust and of the political system, Haryana suffered a major setback in terms of its educational resources. To be able to make our vision of a Naya Haryana a reality, it is imperative that our elected leaders cherish the trust of the voters and work towards a progressive state.