Haryana govts kept changing criteria since 1990s to suit candidates: CBI

Not only the 2004 Om Prakash Chautala-led Haryana government, but state governments had been changing criteria pertaining to the age of candidates since 1990s to accommodate government servants into Haryana Civil Services (HCS, Executive Branch) by way of nominations. However, the change in duration of service was made only during the INLD regime. This, according to the CBI report into the HCS (Executive) recruitment scam.

The Haryana government in 2004, under the leadership of Chautala had arbitrarily changed criteria pertaining to age and duration of service to accommodate candidates for the HCS (Executive Branch). The CBI, which has submitted its report to the Supreme Court in this regard, has recommended registration of a criminal case against Chautala, former transport minister Ashok Kumar Arora, over five senior IAS officers and various others on charges of corruption, cheating, criminal conspiracy, fraud and forgery.

"The maximum age limit for regular recruitment for 1980, 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1992 was kept at 52 years, while for 1995 and 2000, that age limit was kept at 45 years and for 2002, it was 46 years. But for 1998, the maximum age limit was 54 years", the report stated.

In its report, the CBI had stated that according to rules, for an eligible candidate to be nominated as HCS (Executive), he has to be in government service five years at a stretch. However, the same was changed from five to three years during the INLD regime to favour certain candidates. In 2004, when the questionable recruitments were made, B D Dahlia, the then principal secretary to Om Prakash Chautala — vide note dated 20.7.04 — intimated that the CM had instructed that the age limit be 50 years and the minimum work experience be three years, it added.

"The change in eligibility conditions with increase of age and reduction in minimum government service are contradictory to each other. Inquiry has further revealed that the eligibility conditions with respect to the upper age limit has been changed from time to time, without issuance of any notification in this regard," the CBI report stated, adding that the officers, then at the helm of affairs, had recommended the names of personal assistants, private secretaries, etc for being nominated to the HCS (Executive) by ignoring merit and arbitrarily changing the evaluation criteria.

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