Saturday, April 19, 2014

Prison staff exam under cloud after graft arrests

Internal Exam Likely To Be Conducted Again


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The arrest of Arthur Road prison’s two senior-most officials has cast a shadow on the internal exam process. Prison authorities are now considering conducting re-examination of the internal papers for promotions and increment.
    The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday arrested Arthur Road jail superintendent Vasudev Burkule and his deputy Pradip Pathrikar for demanding and accepting a Rs 40,000 bribe for clearing a candidate in an exam for jailors.
    Meeran Borwankar, additional director general of prisons, said, “A re-examination of papers is under consideration.” As many as 30 jailors appeared for the departmental test that makes them eligible for increment and promotions, if they pass it. Describing the procedure, a jail official in Mumbai said, “When constables complete five to seven years in jail service, they can appear for the departmental exam for the post of jailor. Even if they pass the examination and become jailors, they have to clear an internal test for increment and promotions. If they pass it, they are eligible for all facilities; however, if anyone fails to clear the exam after five attempts, they have to continue serving as jail constables.” 

    The complainant in Thursday’s case, a jail officer, had taken the exam for the post of jailor held on March 25. When the exam papers went to Burkule for assessment, the complainant approached Pathrikar for help to clear the exams. When Burkule was told this, he said the complainant’s performance in the exam was “weak”, and demanded Rs 40,000 to clear him.
Burkule was caught by the ACB. 

    The charge held by Burkule’s charge has been given to Thane jail’s superintendent G T Pawar. Burkule and Pathrikar have been sent to police custody till April 19. The ACB team recovered Rs 40 lakh and gold ornaments from Barkule’s official residence on the prison premises. He also has money in several savings accounts and fixed deposits worth over Rs 1 crore.
    While conviction rate in ACB cases is as low as 30%, officials feel the agency needs legal officers for each officer at the superintendent of police level. At present, there is only one legal officer for the state ACB.

The Times of India, April 19, 2014

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