Wednesday 7 December 2022
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PoliticsIndiaBengal SSC teacher recruitment scam explained

Bengal SSC teacher recruitment scam explained

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Minister Partha Chatterjee in Kolkata today in connection with his alleged involvement in the teacher recruitment scam. The ED arrested Chatterjee, who was the state minister when the scam allegedly occurred, after about 26 h of grilling during the investigation, charging him under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

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

What is the Bengal SSC scam?

There are, in fact, two cases. In the first one, the School Service Commission (SSC) had notified teachers in state-run schools in the province through State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014. Following the recruitment process' commencement in 2016, 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 fewer marks ranked higher on the merit list. They alleged that some applicants who were not even on the merit list received appointment letters.

In the second case, the government had issued a notification to the SSC to recruit 13,000 Group-D employees for state-run/aided schools in 2016. Three years later, the panel responsible for the appointments had finished its term and yet it allegedly appointed at least 25 more individuals.

What is the magnitude of the Bengal SSC scam?

During a hearing of the case in the high court, the petitioners claimed that not merely 25 but more than 500 people were appointed after the SSC panel expired. The petitioners said the illegal recruits were drawing salaries from the state government.

What is the investigating agency? What have they found so far?

The Calcutta High Court bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay ordered a probe into the case. The appointment of 269 primary school teachers in Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools have been termed to be illegal, as it has been alleged by the petitioners that these candidates did not qualify for the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).

In its FIR, the alleged that in the primary selection process of TET, 2O14 the question paper and its evaluation process were dubious. The agency said the state authority designed wrong questions and or answer keys in a disguised manner with an intention to deprive the eligible candidates.

The alleged further that some of the TET's failed or otherwise ineligible candidates of TET 2014 were appointed as assistant teachers in primary schools. A number of ineligible candidates who did not answer the MCQ question and submitted blank exam papers, mentioning nothing more than their personal details, were appointed as assistant teachers.

The CBI has alleged that the government created an additional panel dubiously to include several individuals who had not even passed TET-2014 in the additional panel. The complete selection process clearly shows favouritism and nepotism in the selection process, it said.

Bengal industries and minister Partha Chatterjee became embroiled in the alleged scam when he held the portfolio. Justice Gangopadhyay directed him to appear before the CBI for questioning. The agency questioned the veteran Trinamool Congress politician twice — first on 18 May and again on 25 May.

What is the difference between the briefs of the CBI and the ED?

The ED 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.

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