Kolkata: Related to the multi-crore West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam in which former state minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee are the main accused, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday submitted its first charge sheet at a special ED court in Kolkata. The charge sheet mentions that assets worth Rs 103.10 crore were held by the two. Assets include cash amounting to Rs 49.80 crore and gold worth Rs 5.08 crore seized from the two residences of Mukherjee in Kolkata in July, said ED officials.Also Read – Nandigram Cooperative Body Election: BJP Wins 11 Out of 12 Seats in Bhekutia Samabay Krishi Samity
The remaining amount is in the form of other immovable assets like bank deposits, landed property in the form of land and residences, and investment in a number of companies. The directors of these companies, which the ED officials suspected to be shell companies meant to divert scam proceeds, are also named in the charge sheet. Also Read – West Bengal: Bus Set on Fire Near Siliguri After Local Dies in Accident, Services Affected
The first charge sheet filed on the 58th day since the ED started its investigation, has also mentioned about a total of 35 bank accounts having total deposits worth Rs 7.89 crore. It has named Chatterjee and Mukherjee as the prime accused in the scam. Also Read – WBSSC Scam: CBI Given Custody Of Screening Committee Ex-convener
The total number of pages of the charge sheet is 872.
“The investigation process is yet to be completed and we are sure that further investigation will reveal more such assets accumulated through using the ill-gotten wealth of the scam proceeds,” said an ED official.
Meanwhile, Chatterjee who is currently under CBI custody and facing interrogations has reportedly told the ED officials that as the former state education minister he had no authority over the day-to-day functioning of the WBSSC and had just signed files that were forwarded to him from the Commission.
The CBI sources said that during the course of interrogation, Chatterjee had put the entire blame on the WBSSC officials and said that as a minister he signed the documents totally relying on the commission’s officials.
Besides Chatterjee, former president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), Kalyanmoy Gangopadhyay, and former convener of the WBSSC’s screening committee, SP Sinha are also in CBI custody.
The two have been interrogated individually and soon the central agency investigators will start questioning them together to avoid inconsistencies in their statements.
The alleged scam dates back to 2014 when the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC) issued a notification for the appointment of teachers in state-run schools in West Bengal through the State Level Selection Test (SLST). The recruitment process began in 2016 when Partha Chatterjee was the Minister-in-Charge of the Higher Education and School Education Department in West Bengal. 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 lesser marks ranked high on the merit list and there were several allegations that some applicants, who weren’t even on the merit list, received appointment letters.