West Bengal recruitment scam: marks of over 3,000 candidates tampered with

The list was published on the website of the Commission in compliance with the orders of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhay of Calcutta High Court on March 10

March 13, 2023 09:03 pm | Updated 09:04 pm IST - Kolkata

Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari with BJP MLAs holding placards protest over various demands outside the Assembly premises in Kolkata on March 13, 2023.

Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Suvendu Adhikari with BJP MLAs holding placards protest over various demands outside the Assembly premises in Kolkata on March 13, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

More irregularities in the West Bengal government recruitment scam surfaced on Monday with the State’s School Service Commission issuing a list of 3,478 candidates whose marks were tampered with.

The list was published on the website of the Commission in compliance with the orders of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhay of Calcutta High Court on March 10.  “I also direct the school Service Commission to publish the difference of marks of total 3478 numbers of candidates whose OMR (optical mark reader) sheets have been manipulated,” the order by Justice Gangopadhyay had said.

Startling irregularities came to the fore when the names of candidates who appeared in the group C examination in 2016 along with their names, marks obtained and marks published were made public on the Commission’s website. For instance, the candidate in the serial number 14 scored zero marks, but the published marks was 54 and similarly, the candidate in serial number eight secured zero marks, but the published marks was 57.

In the list of 3,478 candidates, marks of about 3030 examinees were increased, while in a few cases the marks were decreased as well.

The development comes days after the High Court directed cancellation of recruitment of 842 candidates who secured jobs by illegal means. Following the publication of the names of those whose services were terminated several names of kins of politicians and politicians surfaced.  These names include a distant relative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, kin of several Trinamool Congress MLAs, a party councillor and also daughter of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader.

On Monday, the legislators of the BJP held protests outside the premises of State Assembly with photographs of the Trinamool Congress leaders including the Chief Minister along with their relatives who got jobs in the recruitment process that has been set aside.  “This  is an exhibition on thieves. Today we have inaugurated the exhibition and this will be taken across the Sate so that people can understand whom they have elected to the State Assembly,” Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said while participating in the protests.

The Trinmool Congress leadership put the blame on the BJP leader. Party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that Mr. Adhikari during his association Trinamool Congress had played a role in providing jobs to 155 people and 55 of them have lost jobs. “He (Mr. Adhikari) is doing this to divert the attention from his involvement,” he said.

In another development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sought extension of the custody of Shantanu Banerjee, a Trinamool Congress youth leader who was arrested on March 10 for his alleged involvement in the recruitment scam.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) produces Trinamool Congress leader Shantanu Banerjee before the Bankshall Court in connection with the alleged teacher recruitment scam in Kolkata on March 13, 2023.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) produces Trinamool Congress leader Shantanu Banerjee before the Bankshall Court in connection with the alleged teacher recruitment scam in Kolkata on March 13, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

“Santanu Banerjee has further been unable to provide the source of properties purchased by him in the name of his wife and firms/companies. That the said properties bought by Shri Santanu Banerjee in the name of his wife/firms/companies is not commensurate with his income profile,” the ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) filed by the agency before the Special (CBI-I) Court, City Sessions Court said.

While the ED has so far seized cash and properties worth ₹111 crore in the recruitment scam. The counsel of the central agency said before the Court that scam could be well above ₹350 crore.

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