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Bengal teacher recruitment scam for which Partha Chatterjee has been arrested | Explained

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Bengal teacher recruitment scam for which Partha Chatterjee has been arrested | Explained

West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the ED on Saturday over his alleged involvement in the teacher recruitment scam. India Today explains what the alleged scam is about.

West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the ED in connection with the SSC scam case (File photo)

West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Kolkata on Saturday over his alleged involvement in the teacher recruitment scam.

Chatterjee, who was the state education minister when the scam allegedly took place, was arrested after around 26 hours of grilling in connection with the probe. He has been charged under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

After raids at multiple locations on Friday, the ED said that it had recovered about Rs 20 crore from Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of TMC heavyweight Partha Chatterjee.

“During the course of searches, the ED has recovered huge cash amounting to approximately Rs 20 crore from the residential premises of Arpita Mukherjee, who is a close associate of Shri Partha Chatterjee. The said amount is suspected to be proceeds of crime of the SSC Scam,” an ED statement said.

But what is the SSC scam? Read on to find out:

  • The West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) issued a notification for appointment of teachers in state-run schools in West Bengal through State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014. The recruitment process started in 2016. However, a series of petitions were filed in the Calcutta High Court alleging anomalies in the recruitment process.
  • The petitioners alleged that many examinees who got less marks ranked high in the merit list. There were also allegations that some applicants, who weren’t even in the merit list, received appointment letters.
  • In the second case, the West Bengal government had, in 2016, issued a notification to the SSC to recruit 13,000 Group-D employees for state-run/aided schools. In 2019, the panel making the appointments had expired, but at least 25 persons were allegedly appointed by the WBBSE.
  • During a hearing, the petitioners claimed that not just 25 but over 500 people were appointed after the SSC panel expired, and they were now drawing salaries from the state government.
  • A CBI probe was launched in the case following an order by the Calcutta High Court bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay. The appointment of 269 primary school teachers in Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools has been termed to be illegal, as it has been alleged by the petitioners that these candidates did not qualify the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
  • In its FIR, the CBI alleged that in the primary selection process of TET, 2O14 the question paper and its evaluation process were done dubiously as wrong questions and or answer keys were designed in a disguised manner for depriving the eligible candidates.
  • It is further alleged some of the TETs fail and/or ineligible candidates of TET 2014 got appointments as Assistant teachers in primary schools. A number of ineligible candidates who did not answer the question by answering the MCQ and submitted blank exam papers only mentioning their personal details got appointments as Assistant Teachers.
  • The CBI has also alleged that an additional panel was created in a dubious manner and several persons who did not even pass TET-2014 were included in the additional panel. The complete selection process clearly shows favouritism and nepotism in the selection process, it says.
  • Bengal industries and commerce minister Partha Chatterjee became embroiled in the alleged scam when he held the education portfolio. Justice Gangopadhyay directed him to appear before the CBI for questioning. The veteran TMC leader was questioned by the CBI twice — first on May 18, and again on May 25.
  • The Enforcement Directorate launched a parallel probe on alleged money laundering in the teacher recruitment scam. While the CBI is probing the criminal angle, the ED is tracking the money trail in the case. The financial probe agency has filed two FIRs in the case so far.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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