BJP leader Pravin Darekar on Saturday alleged irregularities in awarding a tender to a private firm tasked to conduct the examinations to recruit staff for the state Health Department and demanded a probe either by the CID, CBI or by retired judges against state health minister Rajesh Tope and others, a day after the exams were postponed due to the contractor firm's inability to hold them.
On the other hand, Tope assured that the exams will be held and action would be taken against the company concerned. He said candidates faced inconvenience due to mistakes in hall tickets and allocation of the examination centres which was the responsibility of the firm.
Addressing a press conference at the BJP office here on Saturday, Darekar, the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Council, alleged the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had issued several corrigenda, tweaked terms and conditions and relaxed tender conditions for awarding the tender to the contractor.
"While awarding contracts to the private company, the MVA government changed government resolutions (GRs) issued time to time," the BJP leader alleged.
Alleging that a "scam" has been exposed, Darekar said, "Maharashtra health minister, the state health secretary, health director, IT minister, minister of state, and secretary responsible for this scam should be investigated by the CBI, CID or by a retired judge".
He said Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had told the Legislative Council on March 2 this year that in the event of any irregularities in the conduct of the exams for class C and D staff of the Health Department, the said exam will be cancelled and action will be taken against a concerned company.
"Had that inquiry been conducted lakhs of students would have saved the trouble," Darekar said.
He demanded that recruitment contracts awarded to the said private firm by other departments of the Maharashtra government be cancelled.
"The health minister should not announce fresh dates until this examination is conducted through MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission)," the BJP leader said.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Jalna, Tope blamed the Information Technology (IT) Department for the cancellation of exams at the last moment.
Over 8 lakh job aspirants had applied for 6,200 posts in the group C and group D categories which were scheduled to be held on Saturday and Sunday.
"The IT department had roped in Nyasa Communication Pvt Ltd for making arrangements for this exam, but the company expressed its inability to hold the exam on time due to non-preparation on its part," he told reporters.
Tope said the health department prepared question papers for this exam while the company was supposed to conduct the exam and issue hall tickets, but it failed to do so on time.
"The company is guilty of not working on time. An action would be taken against that company. Candidates faced inconvenience due to mistakes in hall tickets and allocations of the examination centres," he added.
The private firm which got selected through a tender process to conduct the examinations had informed that it cannot do so on Saturday and Sunday, after which the state government decided to postpone it to a later date.
"The company informed the state government today evening at 7 pm, leaving no other option to the state. All the preparations such as setting up a dedicated website, acceptance of online applications, issuing of hall tickets, conducting written exams and preparation of the merit list etc were the responsibility of the company," Tope had said earlier.