West Bengal (Kolkata)

Admit cards, list of candidates in Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee’s house: ED to court

List of 48 candidates with roll numbers for the posts of Primary Teacher; Documents relating to the appointment of Group D staff including admitting cards for recruitment examinations; And, a list of candidates under the letterhead of a former TMC MLA.

These are among the records allegedly recovered from the home of West Bengal Industry and Commerce Minister Partha Chatterjee by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) during searches conducted on July 22 in connection with the state school jobs scam, according to court records obtained by The Indian Express.

Chatterjee, who is also the general secretary of the ruling TMC, was arrested by the ED in this case on July 23. He was the education minister of the state when the alleged scam broke out in 2016.

The papers seized are listed in a plea filed by ED in the Calcutta High Court on July 23 seeking quashing or modification of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s order for Chatterjee to be taken to SSKM hospital for check-up and treatment.

Court records also include an arrest memo filed separately by the ED. It claims in the section, “Name of the relative/friend whom the detained person wishes to inform”, that Chatterjee called Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee four times after her arrest at 1.55 a.m. on 23 July, but contacted her.

The memo, filed by Mithilesh Kumar Mishra, Investigating Officer and Assistant Director, Kolkata Zonal Office II, ED, claims that Chatterjee called the Chief Minister at 2.32 am, 2.33 am, 3.37 am and 9.35 am. It also claims that the Minister refused to sign the arrest memo.

On July 24, the High Court directed the ED to take Chatterjee to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar by air ambulance. On Monday, AIIMS-Bhubaneswar executive director Ashutosh Biswas said Chatterjee “doesn’t require hospitalisation at this time” and that the medical reports have been sent to the High Court.

The records listed in the ED plea also include documents allegedly linked to “immovable properties” and “companies” of Chatterjee’s aide and co-accused in the case, Arpita Mukherjee. According to the ED, Chatterjee was in “regular contact” with Mukherjee through a specific mobile number.

The ED has also alleged in its plea that Chatterjee was involved in the “illegal appointment instead of money” of primary teachers, assistant teachers from Class 9-12 and Group D staff.

It states that Rs 20 crore was allegedly recovered from the Tollygunge premises of Arpita Mukherjee, which is described as “nothing but the proceeds of crime generated about the criminal activities for giving illegal appointments…”.

It lists a “total of more than 20 cell phones…recovered from the premises of Ms Arpita Mukherjee, the purpose and use of which is yet to be ascertained.”

The ED plea in the High Court details the documents allegedly seized: “…documents relating to the appointment of Group D staff… like admit cards of the candidates, a summary of the final results in (a recruitment test of) 2016 for the post of Group D staff, intimation letters for verification of testimonials and personality test…for the post of clerk of Indranil Bhattacharya”. The ED has not detailed the identity of Bhattacharya.

“List of candidates of Group D post at the letterhead of Shri Ananta Deb Adhikari, Admit card of 3rd Regional Level Selection Test for non-teaching staff (Group D) of Samapati Thakur, Application form for the recruitment of clerk and Group D staff in respect of Samapati Thakur, a list of 48 candidates for upper primary teacher with roll number etc which indicates that Partha Chatterjee was actively involved in the appointment of Group D staff.”

The ED has not detailed the identity of Thakur. When contacted by The Indian Express, Ananta Deb Adhikari, former TMC MLA of Maynaguri and current chairman of Maynaguri municipality in Jalpaiguri, said: “I do not remember the year when I sent those recommendations. But I did send some names as an MLA. All the MLAs did at that time. Some of the recommendations from other MLAs have been cleared. But my list was not cleared and no one on the list got jobs. I guess that is why it was there at Partha Chatterjee’s house.”

Adhikari said: “My son has passed MSc and BEd and my daughter has passed MA in English and BEd. I tried to get them jobs as teachers in government schools but that, too, did not happen.”

According to the ED’s plea, “several other incriminating documents and electronic devices relating to the generation of proceeds of crime have been recovered during the search at various premises and which are to be confronted with the accused persons and the trail of money is to be further investigated”.

Under the direction of the Calcutta High Court, the CBI is investigating alleged irregularities in the recruitment of Group C & D staff and teachers in government and aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission. The ED is investigating the money laundering aspect of the alleged recruitment scam.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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