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SIT Headed By CBI Joint Director N. Venugopal To Probe Primary Teacher Recruitment Scam & SSC Recruitment Scam Cases: Calcutta HC

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The Calcutta High Court on Friday observed that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI which is probing into the alleged illegal appointment of teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided primary schools, will also look into the cases of irregularities in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in secondary schools on the purported recommendation of the school service commission (SSC).

The counsel appearing for the CBI apprised Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay about the constitution of the SIT in accordance with his earlier order.

The Court on the last date of hearing had ordered the CBI to set up a SIT under the supervision of a Joint Director of its anti-corruption branch to probe alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers in state government-sponsored and aided primary schools. The Court had further specified that the SIT members cannot be transferred from Kolkata until the conclusion of the probe.

The CBI submitted the names of six SIT members, who will be investigating the cases under close supervision of its anti-corruption branch’s superintendent of police, and its joint director. The members of the SIT constituted are as follows,

(i) Dharamveer Singh, Additional SP, CBI, ACB, Kolkata

(ii) Satender Singh, Deputy SP, CBI, ACB, Kolkata

(iii) K.C. Risinamol, Deputy SP, CBI, ACB, Kolkata

(iv) Somnath Biswas, Inspector, CBI, ACB, Kolkata (v) Moloy Das, Inspector, CBI, ACB, Kolkata

(vi) Imran Ashique, Inspector, CBI, ACB, Kolkata

The Court further ordered that CBI Joint Director N. Venugopal shall head the SIT and supervise the whole investigation.

“..I want to make it clear that the Joint Director Mr. N. Venugopal shall be the head of the SIT meaning thereby he will supervise the investigation of SIT for the purpose for which it has been constituted”, the Court underscored.

During the proceedings, senior counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya appearing for the petitioners requested CBI counsel Billwadal Bhattacharyya to reconsider the name of K.C. Risinamol for replacing her by some other officer of similar rank.

Accordingly, the counsel for the CBI averred that he would talk to senior counsel Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya as well as his client in this regard and apprise the Court about the appropriate decision taken in this regard.

The Court further ordered the West Bengal Board of Primary Education to produce a host of documents in their original form on the next date of hearing which is slated to take place on June 20 at 3pm. The documents are as follows,

(i) The applications, made by 2787 candidates who wanted their OMR sheets are to be reviewed/ re-examined as they alleged that there was one question which was wrong for which they should be given full marks.

(ii) The second panel of 273 candidates spread over the State under different district primary school councils as has been stated in paragraph 13 of the report filed before this court on 15.06.2022.

(iii) The Board’s resolution to send the question and the answer key to the expert committee on School Education Department, Government of West Bengal to whom it was sent to ascertain whether the question / answer key provided in TET 2014 in respect of the said question was correct or not.

(iv) The names of the members of the committee and the date of expert constitution of the said expert committee by the School Education Department, Government of West Bengal.

(v) The resolution of the Board in the meeting dated 20.11.2017 to award one mark to the unsuccessful candidates who submitted their representations along with testimonials.

(vi) The view of the department of School Education, Government of West Bengal, accepting the recommendation of awarding one mark.

The Court on the last date of hearing had also expressed dissatisfaction over the progress of the probe by the CBI in these cases by remarking, “In respect of CBI investigation in education employment scam uptil now and in some other matters the investigation by CBI is not very satisfactory in the opinion of this court. The above two matters have been entrusted to CBI only few days back, but some other matters in respect of investigation in Secondary Education were entrusted to CBI some months back regarding which I have not been intimated any substantial progress.”

The Court was adjudicating upon a case wherein the CBI was entrusted to probe into the appointments of 269 primary teachers which were found to be illegal. The alleged irregularities came to light pursuant to a a social media post made by former CBI additional director Upendranath Biswas, who had headed the probe into the Bihar fodder scam that led to the conviction of that state’s former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

A minister in the first Mamata Banerjee government from 2011 to 2016, Biswas had named one Chandan Mondal of Bagda, North 24 Parganas for allegedly giving jobs of primary school teachers in lieu of money.

Case Title: Ramesh Malik & Ors v. The State of West Bengal & Ors.

Case Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Cal) 249

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