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Fraud finger at Dooars CPM leaders

June 15: Around 50 youths from Dooars have filed a complaint with the Malbazar subdivisional officer alleging that a district-level CPM leader of Jalpaiguri, his wife and another party leader took money from them four years ago promising them jobs as teachers in NGO-run schools.

While some were asked to teach, but not paid, others have not got jobs, they alleged.

The 48 youths from areas such as Malbazar, Banarhat, Odlabari and Metelli have said that Ramlal Murmu, the Nagrakata zonal secretary of the CPM, had taken cash ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 from them in 2010.

“In 2010, Nabin Thapa, a CPM leader from the Dooars, contacted us and promised us jobs as primary teachers with salaries ranging from Rs 7,500 to Rs 9,500 a month. He took us to Ramlal Murmu and his wife Sangita,”said Rashmi Chhetri, from Meenglass Tea Estate.

“The trio told us that we had to give them money and teach in schools without salary for the first six months. We were told we would get appointment letters after that and salaries from the seventh month. Many of us paid the cash, ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000,” said Rashmi who had given Rs 10,000.

Murmu and Thapa had told the youths, most aged between 25 and 30 years, that over 100 private primary schools would be opened in the Dooars in the name of Krishna Mission, an NGO based in Barasat, Calcutta, and the institutions would give free education to children from the region.

“Only 13 schools were opened. While most of us did not get jobs, those who taught in these schools did not get any salary even after six months,” Ashok Gupta, a resident of New Mal Tea Estate, said.

“We have been waiting. These people had assured us many times that more schools would be opened soon and we would get jobs. But four years have gone and we could not bank on them any longer. We have complained to the Malbazar SDO,” he said.

Sources said of the 48 youths, 20-25 had taught in the primary schools. The complainants who have named Murmu, Thapa and Sangita said many of them taught for around a year.

Although, some were given appointment letters after six months, no one was given the salary as promised.

“As we were not given salary, we left the schools. Soon, all the 13 institutions were closed down. Murmu, his wife and Thapa have cheated us. We want our money back. We also want our salaries for teaching in the schools,” said a youth.

The complainants approached the leaders of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad last week who took them to Malbazar SDO J. Tanti.

“Ramlal Murmu, his wife and Nabin Thapa have cheated them. Most are from tea estates and they desperately need jobs. We have urged the SDO to see to it that they (Murmu, Sangita and Thapa) are arrested and harsh steps are taken against them,” Amardan Buxla, a Parishad leader, said.

Murmu denied the allegations. He said he did not take money from anyone and the charges were levelled to “malign” him.

“Some of my acquaintances from Barasat (in North 24-Parganas) had told me that they wanted to open primary schools in the Dooars. I simply helped them recruit teachers. I have not taken money from anybody. Attempts are being made to malign my image.”

Documents furnished by the complainants indicated that people from Krishna Mission in Barasat communicated with Murmu on a regular basis asking him to recruit primary teachers.

The Malbazar SDO said he had found enough evidence that could prove the involvement of Murmu, his wife and Thapa in the case. “We received the complaint from 48 youths and we have conducted an inquiry. So far, investigations indicate that Ramlal Murmu, his wife and Nabin Thapa had taken cash from the youths and promised them jobs. The accused have denied taking money. We will initiate legal steps against the accused,” he said.