The recording of conversations between a man claiming to be John, accessed by this newspaper, indicated that the caller knew the minister and also he was in possession of details of candidates selected for appointment.
The caller had selected only those people who top the merit list. “Appointment orders are getting ready by this weekend,” the caller says hinting that the candidate’s name can be removed from the list at the last minute.
At least a couple of them could be heard asking the so-called representative of the minister that why should they pay if they are already sure of the appointment. To this, the caller indicated that the appointment can go to another candidate who had performed equally good. The candidate is also promised to get appointed in the district where they belonged to.
The caller also informs the candidates that he or she can reach the minister in Goundapalayam in Erode or at his residence in Chennai. “After reaching there, you can contact this number,” the caller instructs the candidate.
Most of the candidates sounded confused while answering the calls. They seem to be aware of the fact that they are meritorious and they sounded positive about getting the job without bribing. But the calls demanding lakhs of rupees had visibly shocked them.
One candidate even goes on to say: “Sir, I can’t mobilise such a huge amount even if my family sells everything we have.”
When contacted, sources close to the minister said the minister has nothing to do with it. “It looks like a party functionary from Erode was making such calls to meritorious candidates, demanding money. But the minister has nothing to do with it,” sources said.
Tests were conducted by TNPCB last year for the selection of 78 assistant engineers, 70 environment scientists, 38 assistants and 56 typists.