The detective department on Wednesday hit the trail of a railway-job fraud, leading to an employee who had either stolen or forged the official letter-pad of Gautam Bose, private secretary of then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.
Police said the conman had used the official stationery to hand over “appointment letters” to youths aspiring for a berth in the railways. He had used a few Eastern Railway letterheads for the purpose and allegedly duped a number of youths of several lakhs of rupees.
Deputy commissioner of police, detective department-II, Pradip Chatterjee said the ‘preventive wing’ is probing the case. According to an FIR lodged with the police by Madhab Mondal, the railway employee (whose name is not being disclosed) cheated him of Rs 1,20,000 after issuing an appointment letter on an Eastern Railway letter-pad.
“We have also come to know that the railwayman had issued appointment letters using sheets from Gautam Bose’s letter-pad. We are checking whether these were genuine or fake and verifying how the employee got hold of them,’’ a senior detective said.
When contacted, Trinamul Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee’s personal assistant Manik Majumdar said they were “looking into the matter”. Eastern Railway authorities refused comment.
Madhab’s uncle, additional commissioner of income-tax T.K. Mondol, told Metro that “an acquaintance” had brokered a meeting with his nephew and the conman. “Madhab was desperately looking for a job and he was introduced to a railway employee, posted in the parcel office of Fairlie Place in February 2000,’’ Mondol recounted. “He told Madhab that it was impossible to get into the railways through ‘proper channels’, but that he could get him in as a peon by greasing the palms of a few senior officers.”
Mondol said the employee had demanded Rs 1,35,000 from Madhab to fix his appointment. His parents withdrew their savings from the bank to pay up. Madhab handed over the amount to the man, who sat with letter-pads of Gautam Bose and Eastern Railway letterheads, scribbled out appointments and handing them over to a host of applicants. The ‘appointment letter’ issued to Madhab on April 23, 2000, instructed him to report for work “from 2/5/2002’. There was no name of any issuing authority, just a signature with an Eastern Railway rubber stamp.
Madhab waited for two years and met the same man in a central Calcutta railway office. He was not made to sign any attendance register nor given an identity card. He worked for three months but was not paid his salary. Then, one day the railway employee, who had landed him the ‘job’, went missing.
“I informed the railway authorities, who advised me to register a complaint with the police,’’ Madhab said.