Hyderabad: For the last few months, as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national and State leaders, right from national president JP Nadda to State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar, repeatedly harp on alleged corruption in Telangana, what they have conveniently chosen to remain silent on is the political storm that large-scale corruption in the Police Sub Inspector (PSI) recruitment drive has unleashed in the BJP-ruled Karnataka.
The scam has been so huge that apart from the rare instance of an Additional Director General of Police being arrested, there have been arrests of a BJP women’s unit leader, videos that directly link a BJP MLA to the scam and several other reports that indicate the involvement of BJP leaders and even ministers. And the scam is still raging on.
The ADGP, Amrit Paul, was the first in Karnataka to be arrested while in service, while nearly 70 others, ranging from deputy superintendents of police, inspectors and other police personnel were arrested. Those arrested also include BJP leader Divya Hagaragi, who owned the Jnana Jyothi English Medium School in Kalaburagi, a Congress block president and a Congress MLA’s gunman, and even toppers in the recruitment exam, which a CID investigation revealed was rigged on a large scale, with the staff and headmaster of Hagaragi’s school, an exam centre, found to have ticked the answer sheets on behalf of candidates.
Just three days ago, a new video of a retired police constable implicating BJP MLA Basavaraj Dadesugur, a staunch supporter of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, came out, with strong enough indications of the legislator taking Rs.15 lakh in exchange for a Sub-inspector post for the retired cop’s son.
The scam, which is plunging the BJP’s Karnataka unit into further depths of shame each day, actually surfaced in October last year, when examinations for recruitment of police sub-inspectors were held. The results saw 545 candidates qualifying from among 54,287 candidates who wrote the exam. CID investigations revealed that several candidates used fraudulent means to score well in the examination. Kalaburagi district turned out to be the epicentre of the scam, as it was the exam centre from where most of the rankers emerged.
Hagaragi, the former BJP women’s unit president in Kalaburagi, owned the Jnana Jyothi English School, and was arrested and charged for facilitating cheating at her school.
Now, against the 545 posts to which the controversial recruitment was done, compare the test conducted by the Telangana State Level Police Recruitment Board for direct recruitment to 15,644 vacancies of SCT Police Constable (Civil) and equivalent Posts, 63 vacancies of Transport Constables and 614 vacancies of Prohibition & Excise constables on August 28. The test, for which the preliminary key was released on August 30 itself, was taken by 6,03,955 candidates.
Earlier, the State Level Police Recruitment Board issued notifications and conducted a test on August 7 for direct recruitment of 554 vacancies of SCT SI Civil and equivalent posts, for which 2,47,217 candidates applied. The Preliminary Written Test was conducted in 503 examination centres, with 2,25,759 candidates appearing for it.
So far, the process has been transparent, with no candidate approaching the court nor has any allegation of malpractice cropped up. Compared to their counterparts in Karnataka, the police force here has been on the forefront to ensure transparency in the entire process, themselves conducting pre-recruitment training camps and with experienced officers imparting tips for candidates across the State.
In Karnataka meanwhile, another recruitment scam has started rocking the State over irregularities in the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) recruitment examination, which took place on August 7. Thirteen arrests have been made already in connection with the test conducted to fill up 1,492 posts.
Another fact the BJP leaders forgot was that the National Crime Records Bureau, functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs, said in its ‘Crime in India’ report for 2021 that corruption cases were on the wane in Telangana. From 177 cases in 2019, cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act and related sections of the Indian Penal Code in the State dipped to 84 in 2020 and 83 in 2021.
This was when Karnataka saw the cases shoot up from 296 in 2020 to 360 in 2021 and Madhya Pradesh, another BJP-ruled State, saw the number go up from 151 to 250.