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School Service Commission Scam

Calcutta High Court orders CBI to seal SSC database room in Salt Lake

Central sleuths quiz former commission chief

Subhankar Chowdhury, Tapas Ghosh, Monalisa Chaudhuri, Snehal Sengupta | Published 20.05.22, 06:22 AM
CRPF personnel guard the SSC head office in Salt Lake on Thursday.

CRPF personnel guard the SSC head office in Salt Lake on Thursday.

Gautam Bose

The high court on Thursday asked the CBI to seal the database room in the school service commission’s office in Salt Lake, where documents related to the appointments under the scanner are stored.

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, while passing the order, allowed only a few officials of the commission to access the SSC office and said CRPF personnel would be posted there at least till Friday.


“CRPF will continue to protect the SSC office building at least till Friday. The CBI is directed to put a lock on the main door of the database room at the SSC office building in the presence of the chairman or the secretary,” ordered Justice Gangopadhyay on Thursday afternoon.

About two-and-a-half hours after Justice Gangopadhyay gave the order, an eight-member team from the CBI went to the SSC office, Acharya Sadan, and sealed the database room.

Two CRPF personnel were posted outside the room, said CBI sources.

Sources in the investigating agency said the sealing of the room would ensure that no data pertaining to the alleged scam in the recruitment of teachers and other staff for government-aided schools could be tampered with.

Sources said CBI had plans to collect hard disks from the database room for examinations.

The room was sealed when Siddhartha Majumdar, who stepped down as SSC chairman on Wednesday, was present in the office.

Majumdar was called to the SSC office by the CBI at 4.30pm. He was questioned by the CBI about how the commission functioned and the people involved in the recruitment process, said CBI sources.

The sources said Majumdar, who had been appointed as SSC chairman in January, had told CBI officers that he was not part of the commission when the controversial appointments were made.

“It is apparent that Majumdar was not attached to the commission when the irregular recruitments were made. But we have certain queries about the working of the commission back then, for which we are questioning him,” said an officer who is part of the investigation.

Majumdar, during a virtual hearing in the high court on Tuesday on the alleged irregular recruitment of Ankita Adhikary, daughter of Bengal’s minister of state for school education Paresh Chandra Adhikary, had deposed that the commission did not have information about the candidate’s score in the personality test.

Sources said CBI sleuths had asked Majumdar about the process SSC followed to store data and the officials who were in charge of the process.

When asked about his interaction with the CBI team, Majumdar said while leaving the SSC office at 9.35pm on Thursday: “The proceedings took place as directed by the learned court.”

The CBI entered the SSC office after Justice Gangopadhyay modified his order delivered on Wednesday night. Following the modification, the chairman, secretary, assistant secretary, stenographers and the advisor to the school service commission were allowed to enter the office.

Late on Wednesday, after candidates seeking jobs in state-aided schools filed an online prayer for deployment of CRPF personnel around the SSC office, Justice Gangopadhyay had ordered deployment of the central force from 12.30am and said no one would enter or leave the office till Thursday noon.

A case filed by the state government in the high court against the deployment of CPRF is likely to be heard on Friday.

A CRPF team had taken control of Acharya Sadan, located adjacent to the Wipro intersection in Salt Lake, around 2am.

Initially, a team from Bidhannagar East police station, which usually guards the SSC office, refused to open the gates when the CRPF team turned up, said an SSC official.

“The Bidhannagar East police resisted because a copy of the late-night verdict did not reach them,” the official said.

The CRPF men then scaled the boundary wall to enter the premises of the SSC office, he said. Later, the Bidhannagar cops opened the gates.

Upon entering the compound, the CRPF team closed the gates with an iron chain they had brought.

An official of the SSC arrived around 9.30am but he was turned away. The official entered the office after 1pm, after Justice Gangopadhyay modified his order.

Last updated on 20.05.22, 06:22 AM

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