‘Fraudulent’ selection of pharmacists in 2008

‘Fraudulent’ selection of pharmacists in 2008

SRINAGAR: The J&K high court on Monday allowed advocate general’s request to grant week’s time to a government panel constituted last month to carry an “exhaustive” inquiry into the selection of Dawasazs (pharmacists) whose qualification certificates had been issued “fraudulently” by the Indian System of Medicine (ISM) in 2008.
As the hearing in a Public Interest Litigation begun before a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Hasnain Massodi asked Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganie about the outcome of the inquiry ordered by the government on July 22.
It also sought status of the investigation by state vigilance organization, particularly about the verification of matriculation certificates of the alleged beneficiaries of the fraud.
The advocate general sought time to check the status of the inquiry and subsequently the court deferred it for further consideration after the lunch break.
As the case come up again, the advocate general submitted that week’s time shall be ‘finally’ granted to the committee as it has to go through voluminous record.
After AG’s submissions, the bench adjourned the case till Tuesday (August 25) with the direction to produce the inquiry report before the court.
“In case the report is not produced, the Commissioner Secretary to government, Health department, shall appear in person,” the court added.
Headed by Joint Director Planning, Madan Lal, the panel was constituted by the government on July 22. With Tahir Mustafa Malik and Pooja Rasgotra, both under secretaries to Health and Medical Education Department as its members, the panel was asked to complete the enquiry within a week’s time.
According to the PIL filed last year by “RTI activist” Abdul Rashid Tantry of Kupwara district, Director ISM in connivance with the top officials of the Directorate in 2008 allegedly issued fake pharmacists diploma certificates to about 400 persons, who later got jobs under NHRM scheme.
“The issue with regard to the issuance of certificates by (Director ISM) on mala fide considerations for his vested interests being a blatant fraud and providing public employment subsequently under HRHM Scheme is serious misconduct covered by Sec 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, for which FIR should have immediately been lodged against the director,” he said.
The court has also already ordered that the appointments made shall be subject to result of the PIL.
The petitioner has also sought transfer of Director ISM to prevent tampering of the records until investigation into the matter was completed.
The government, he said, should be directed to make legitimate selection of candidates for imparting Dawasaz training to them through a fair selection process.
He said that in 2008, 994 candidates were nominated “through backdoor means” by the ISM Directorate for undergoing “Dawasaz” training.
After a complaint was filed by some aggrieved candidates, the Government cancelled the list, vide order (No: 121 HME (GR of 2008)) on October 17, 2008, he said.
The ‘backdoor’ selected candidates, he said, filed a writ petition in High Court which was dismissed subsequently.
However, the Court had directed Government to expeditiously frame and formulate the norms and procedure for making nominations for undergoing Dawasaz training course.
The Director ISM, he said, again violated the Court orders and issued diploma certificates to people although there is no training institute in J&K.

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