The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday raided the residences of West Bengal ministers Partha Chatterjee and Paresh Adhikari in connection with its probe into the teachers’ recruitment scam.
Around 7-8 personnel arrived at Chatterjee’s residence at 8:30 AM and carried out searches till 11 AM. Partha Chatterjee, the Minister of Industries and Commerce, was the Education minister when the teacher recruitment scam happened. Chatterjee is being questioned in the money laundering angle of the SSC recruitment, where transactions worth crores of rupees were allegedly done for the appointment of teachers recruited through the SSC panel.
A simultaneous raid was also conducted at the residence of the incumbent Education minister Paresh Adhikari in Cooch Behar district.
Adhikari, who was not present at his residence when the raid was conducted, said that he had no information about the ED’S visit. “ED did not inform us about their visit to our house today. I am in Kolkata for the July 21 Martyrs’ day rally. Had I been around, I would have treated them to muri (puffed rice).”
Notably, former West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) adviser Shanti Prasad Sinha is also being interrogated by ED officials at his residence regarding the SSC recruitment scam case.
The ED officials had also carried out a simultaneous raid at the residence of the former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, Manik Bhattacharya, in the Jadavpur area of Kolkata.
The CBI had been looking into the alleged irregularities committed in the recruitment of Group-C, D staff and teachers in government-sponsored and aided schools on recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission, as directed by the high court, and the ED was tracking the money trail in relation to the scam, reported PTI.
Trinamool Congress’s MP Shantanu Sen targeted Bharatiya Janata Party and questioned the timing of the raid on their party’s ministers. “We have maintained that we will always cooperate with the investigation but the timing is questionable. July 21st’s crowd has shaken BJP leaders’ confidence at the Centre, and as usual, they continue to remote-control the central agencies,” said Sen, hinting at the huge gathering on Martyrs’ Day rally in central Kolkata a day ago.
Earlier in 2016, the West Bengal government had recommended the appointment of around 13,000 group D staff in state-run schools. The West Bengal School Service Commission (WBCSSC) organised exams and interviews and finalized a panel of prospective employees based on recommendations. Notably, the panel surpassed its validity on May 4, 2019.
A section of candidates who failed to secure appointments despite remaining enlisted, subsequently moved court, claiming that the Commission had illegally recommended appointments from the panel even after its expiry.