Minister of West Bengal Partha Chatterjee was arrested by Enforcement (ED) in Kolkata on Saturday for his alleged involvement within the teacher recruitment scam.
Chatterjee, who was mentioned to be the state’s training secretary, was arrested after round 26 hours of grilling associated to the investigation. He was charged underneath the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
After raids on a number of areas on Friday, the ED mentioned that was the case recovered about Rs 20 crore from Arpita Mukherjeea detailed affiliate of TMC heavyweight Partha Chatterjee.
“During the raids, the ED seized huge quantities of money totaling roughly Rs 20 million from the residences of Arpita Mukherjee, a detailed affiliate of Shri Partha Chatterjee. The mentioned quantity is suspected to stem from the crime of SSC fraud,” an ED statement said.
But what is the SSC scam? Read on to find out:
- West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) issued a Notice of Appointment of Teachers in West Bengal Government Schools by State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014. The recruitment process began in 2016. However, a number of petitions were brought before the Calcutta High Court over alleged anomalies in the recruitment process.
- The petitioners claimed that many candidates who scored lower were at the top of the list of achievements. There were also allegations that some applicants who were not even on the list of merit received letters of appointment.
- In the second case, in 2016 the West Bengal government issued a notification to the SSC to hire 13,000 Group D staff for government run/subsidized schools. In 2019, the nominating body had expired, but at least 25 people were said to have been appointed by the WBBSE.
- During a hearing, petitioners claimed that when the SSC board expired, not just 25 but over 500 people were appointed who now receive salaries from the state government.
- A CBI investigation was launched into the case by order of Kolkata Supreme Court Abhijit Gangopadhyay. The appointment of 269 primary school teachers to schools sponsored and supported by the Government of Bengal was labeled illegal as petitioners claimed that these candidates failed the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
- In its FIR, the CBI alleged that in TET’s primary selection process, 2O14, the question paper and its assessment process were dubious because incorrect questions and/or answer keys were designed in a disguised manner to deprive the eligible candidates.
- It is further alleged that some of the TETs are failing and/or ineligible candidates from TET 2014 have obtained jobs as teaching assistants in primary schools. A number of ineligible candidates who failed to answer the question by answering the MC question and submitted blank exam papers giving only their personal information received teaching assistant appointments.
- The CBI has also claimed that an additional panel was established in a dubious manner and several people who had not even passed TET-2014 were placed on the additional panel. The entire selection process clearly shows favoritism and nepotism in the selection process, it is said.
- Bengal Industry and Trade Minister Partha Chatterjee was implicated in the alleged fraud while holding the education portfolio. Judge Gangopadhyay ordered him to appear before the CBI for questioning. The veteran TMC leader was interrogated twice by the CBI – first on May 18 and again on May 25.
- The Enforcement Directorate launched a parallel investigation into alleged money laundering in relation to teacher recruitment fraud. While the CBI investigates the criminal aspect, the ED pursues the money lead in the case. The Financial Intelligence Agency has so far filed two FIRs in the case.
(With contributions from agencies)
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