Court asks DG Crime to set up SIT to probe ETTC scandal within two months
Srinagar: The Anti Corruption Court Jammu on Wednesday directed the Director General (DG) Crime to constitute a SIT and investigate within two months the multi-core scandal pertaining to Elementary Teachers Training Course (ETTC) in the Union Territory involving senior bureaucrats of the J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) and the Department of School Education.
Hundreds of ETT institutes, according to the investigating agencies, came up on the educational map of J&K around 2000-2001. The institutes lured candidates from outside J&K employing unethical modes to be finally awarded one year and two years Diploma in ETTC.
All such establishments were allowed to run the course by the authorities at BOSE without drawing any genuine satisfaction about the existence of the required infrastructure available in any such institute as per the norms.
Hearing the case, Special Judge Anti Corruption Jammu, Tahir Khurshid Raina observed that the matter is of high magnitude and warrants further investigation to unravel the entire criminality based on the alleged scandalisation of education in the erstwhile State of J&K.
Judge Raina directed the Special DG Crime J&K “to constitute a SIT to be headed by an IPS officer, not below the rank of SSP for conducting further investigation in the matter to be completed within two months.”
He directed the SIT in-charge to submit a status report of the investigation fortnightly before the court.
The compliance report with regard to the constitution of the SIT shall have to be submitted by the Special DG, Crime within 10 days.
The court directed the SIT to “investigate the role of the then Chairman, JKBOSE, M A Charoo, whose emergency powers, envisaged in Sec. 13(IV) of the Act, 1975, have been referred to in the permission letters for ETT Institutes.”
The court noted that Charoo has admitted to have started two-third of the total ETT institutes during his tenure, that too in violation of the School Education Act, 2002, whereby power lies only with the administrative department of School Education to start ETT.
It also directed for “probing the role of the Secretary, Education Department, and also of other members of the collegiums of the Board, who participated in the Board meeting dated 26-03-2003 and whereby they adopted the decision of the Chairman taken under the aegis of emergency powers of the Chairman with regard to start of ETT course in the private sector.
The court directed the SIT “to recover and seize the original twenty-two permission letters issued by the accused Director Academics BOSE Bashir Ahmed Dar and Dy Secretary Academics BOSE R K Jalali (now expired) and also to get the signatures of those officers on the alleged documents confirmed from FSL to survive the test of legal scrutiny in the court”.
It directed it to “probe as to why the investigation was done selectively in context of 22 promoters of the ETT institutes and only few were roped in the case, when apparently the alleged illegal permissions were issued to all the 22 institutes, notwithstanding whether violation or no violation in context of enrollment of the students, infrastructure, etc”.
The court asked some pertinent questions as to where is the policy decision of the government to put ETT course in the private sector when said course was simply being run in the government sector for the teachers of the government schools.
It asked what was the objective to be achieved, and why such a large number of sham institutions got opened in the nook and corner of the State after 2002, without the approval of the government.
“If not so, why did the government allow this illegality and scandalization to go on unabated and unnoticed? It is in this context the roles of successive Education ministers since 2000 onwards and also that of the Secretaries Education Department and Chairmen of the JKBOSE need to be investigated”.
The court directed the SIT to find out “why out of 40 institutes inspected by A. K Sen Committee, not a single promoter of the institutes was arrayed as an accused?”
The one man Enquiry committee in 2011 to look into some lapses relating to admissions of the candidates in ETT course had described all such institutions as the educational shops which simply sold the diplomas of ETT course to the purchasers from outside the State through touts.
The court asked for an answer as to “why the investigation remained selective and arrayed a very miniscule number of the sham promoters out of the promoters of a huge lot of more than 300 as accused in the case?”
It raised the question and directed the investigators to find why the touts have not been identified and their role ascertained by the earlier investigating officers in the scam?
It directed the SIT to find out “whether the institutes opened after 2005, got any permission from their respective affiliating agencies like Board or University in terms of Government Order No. 446-Edu of 2006 dated 21-09-2006 before the start of ETT? And whether those who were first timers in the field have got said NOCs from the government?”
It asked the investigators to unearth “on what basis the NOCs/permissions were granted by the Administrative Department of Education authorities by virtue of SRO 123, when they all were found in their inspections by the two Enquiry Committees, seriously lacking the norms and standard of NCTE and failed to find any student in these so-called ETT institutes. Further, to investigate as to whether after issuance of SRO 123 in 2010, any permission stands issued by the Board to any of the ETT institute”.
It directed them to find “whether the fee charged by defaulting ETT institutes from the students stand recovered by the committee to be constituted by the government in terms of the interim direction of the Hon’ble High Court dated 13-08-2015, passed in the PIL. It is to reiterate here that all said institutes were found to be running fake ETT institutes in terms of the twin enquiry reports”.
According to the earlier inquiry report before the court the matter is a huge scandal pertaining to ETTC wherein hundreds of crores of rupees exchanged hands as bribe.
The perusal of the enquiry report further suggests that these institutions simply got opened as shops where ETTC diplomas were put on sale by the owners and managers of such shops, that too with the active connivance of the Board authorities.
As per the report a huge scandal was being run in league with the authorities of the JKBOSE who dishonestly and fraudulently granted affiliation/permission to these institutions in exchange of money by abusing their official position.