Jharkhand High Court grants bail to beneficiary of Recruitment Scam at Jharkhand Public Service Commission, says CBI couldn’t prove how the accused manipulated the Merit List

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In the case of Shilpi Baxi v. UOI, the prosecution states that the accused who are the officials of the Jharkhand Public Service Commission along with the petitioner entered into a criminal conspiracy.

Further, the accused under the guidance and influence of Jharkhand Public Service Commission Officials, dishonestly and in a fraudulent manner manipulated the merit lists, assessment chart etc. of the examination/interview to extend undue benefits to their preferred candidates. It was further alleged that during the said exam/interview, the merit list was manipulated by one Dhiraj Kumar under the guidance of Jharkhand Public Service Commission officials.

JPSC officials gave undue benefits to the candidates those who were fraudulently qualified even by securing fewer marks than the candidates who were even after securing more marks could not qualify. It was alleged that the marks of the preferred candidates obtained during the interview were increased which facilitated the Selection of Lecturers. Hence, the charge sheet was submitted against the accused. The petitioner, Shilpi Baxi, had applied for the position of Lecturer in three Universities. Subsequently, she was shortlisted for the interview and after conducting an interview, she was selected for the post of Lecturer.

Petitioner’s Arguments

The Senior Learned Counsel relied upon the judgement of the cases of Siddharam Stlingappa Metre v. State of Maharashtra and Shoban Singh Khankha v. State of Jharkhand through the facts and circumstances of the case the Apex Court was pleased to give the privilege of Anticipatory bail.

The petitioner submits that the court must evaluate the entire valuable material and clearly comprehend against the accused very carefully and show to be involved in crime as per Sec 34 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The trial court has taken the cognizance of the offences and issued summons towards the petitioner which has been received by the husband of the petitioner and it has been mentioned that on what date the petitioner was to appear in the court concerned as per the summon issued to her but learned senior counsel for the petitioner on instruction submits that the petitioner was to appear in the trial court on 13.11.19 but she has not appeared before the trial court as her Anticipatory Bail Application which turned pending before the trial court, though no such document is available in the record to support such oral submission of the learned senior counsel.

The petitioner had a requisite qualification prior to the application and the investigating agency has failed to unearth the wrongdoing of the petitioner. In this regard, the opposition had failed to prove that Baxi was in connivance with JPSC officials in the criminal conspiracy.

Respondent’s Arguments

Keeping in view the serious nature of allegations against the petitioner of getting involved in a fraudulent process of recruitment conducted by co-accused member of JPSC.

Court’s Decision

The Court noted that Baxi, presently a Lecturer of Chemistry at Doranda College, Ranchi, was selected after securing 57 marks for her career and 27 marks for the interview i.e, a total of 84 marks. It was also noted by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory had deciphered that the petitioner was initially given 17 marks in the assessment chart, which was later exaggerated to 27 marks.

It was thus concluded that the petitioner deserves only 80.6 marks whereas the minimum marks required was 82.

The court noted that,

It isn’t the case of the C.B.I. that the petitioner was selected while not having requisite qualification. The allegation towards the petitioner is restricted to the marks, which had been given within the interview and which, according to the investigating agency, implicates the connivance of the petitioner. However, it was also not proved how the petitioner had manipulated her marks to secure the post of Lecturer. And as stated above, the charge-sheet has already been submitted and the petitioner is in custody since 24.2.2020.

Hence, on the above grounds, the Court granted bail to Baxi on furnishing a bond of Rs. 10,000 and two sureties of the like amount.


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