West Bengal recruitment scam: CBI registers FIR against five officials

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a fresh FIR against five officials of the West Bengal Education Department in connection with the appointment of “undeserving and unlisted candidates” as Group C staff in various schools. 

The FIR follows the directions of a Division Bench and a single Bench of the Calcutta High Court after the court took note of the irregularities in the recruitment process

Charges have been pressed under Section 120 (Criminal Conspiracy), 417 (cheating), 465 ( forgery), 468 ( forgery for the purpose of cheating), and under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 

 The officials named in the FIR are Santi Prasad Sinha, the then Convener of the five-member committee as well as the then advisor of the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC); Samarjit Acharya, the then Programmer at the Commission; Saumitra Sarkar, the then chairman of the Commission; Ashok Kumar Saha, the then Secretary of the Commission; and Kalyanmoy Ganguly, the then president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. 

The FIR states that the accused “collected the vacancies of Group C in an unauthorised manner after the expiry of the paneI on 18.05.2019 in violation of provisions of School Service Commission Rules, 2009, and then issued recommendations of unsuccessful candidates to those vacancies by issuing fictitious memos of the regional commissions and by using scanned signatures of the chairpersons of the regional commissions in the absence of their knowledge”. 

“Santi Prasad Sinha handed over fake recommendation letters to  Kalyanmoy Ganguly after the expiry of the panel. Kalyanmoy Ganguly gave instruction to Mr. Rajesh Layek, the Technical Officer of the Board for preparation of appointment letters on the basis of fake recommendation letters, bypassing the normal chain of hierarchy and without sending those recommendation letters to the Appointment Section of Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal,” it says. 

Submission of inquiry report

On May 14, a committee headed by R.K. Bag (retired  High Court Judge) submitted an inquiry report to the Division Bench of Justices Subrata Talukdar and Anand Kumar Mukherjee, pointing out massive irregularities in the appointment of 381 Group C Staff in schools.

Earlier this week, the CBI registered an FIR against Minister of State for Education Paresh Chandra Adhikary and his daughter, Ankita Adhikary, in connection with her “illegal’ appointment in a State-run school. Charges have been pressed against both under Sections 420 (cheating), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The FIR came on instructions from Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the High Court. 

The CBI has questioned Mr. Adhikary and former Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee, in connection with the allegations. The five- member committee headed by Mr. Sinha was constituted when Mr. Chatterjee held the Education portfolio. The CBI has registered four FIRs in the past two months in connection with the irregularities. It has seized documents from the WBSSC headquarters in Kolkata.  

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 10:33:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/west-bengal-recruitment-scam-cbi-registers-fir-against-five-officials/article65442260.ece