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School Service Commission Scam

CBI arrests 2 former officials of School Service Commission

They have been booked under IPC sections on cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy

Our Bureau | Published 11.08.22, 06:44 AM
Shanti Prasad Sinha.

Shanti Prasad Sinha.

File picture

The CBI on Wednesday arrested former adviser of the school service commission, Shanti Prasad Sinha, and a former secretary of the commission, Ashok Saha, in connection with the alleged illegal appointment of Group C staff for government-aided schools by issuing fake recommendation letters for unsuccessful candidates, officers said.

Officers of the central agency said Sinha and Saha had been booked under IPC sections on cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy. 

“The CBI on Wednesday arrested the then advisor (also then convenor of the five-member committee) and the then secretary, both of the West Bengal Central School Service Commission, in an ongoing investigation of a case related to alleged irregularities in the appointments of Group C staff in various schools across Bengal,” reads a statement issued by R.C. Joshi, chief information officer of the CBI.

“It was alleged that the accused extended undue advantage in the matter of giving appointment to the undeserving and unlisted candidates to the posts of Group C staff in various schools across Bengal, in conspiracy with one another.”

The CBI had on April 7 registered a case against Sinha as convener of the five-member committee (which allegedly issued the fake recommendation letters) and former advisor of the school service commission. On May 20, the CBI registered a case against the five members of the committee, including Sinha and Saha. 

A CBI officer said they had evidence that the accused had collected data about Group-C vacancies in schools in violation of the school service commission rules and issued fake recommendation letters for unsuccessful candidates. 

“On the basis of these recommendations, appointment letters were issued bypassing the normal chain of hierarchy,” said a CBI officer who is part of the probe team.

“These recommendation letters were neither sent to the appointment section... nor were the names of the candidates notified on the website for verification of testimonials or for collection of appointment letters on the notified date.”  

Sinha and Saha have been questioned several times by the CBI since April 2022. Both were summoned to the Nizam Palace office of the CBI on Wednesday. They were questioned for several hours before being arrested.

A high court-appointed committee headed by a former judge had on May 13 submitted a report before the division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Ananda Mukherjee mentioning  that 381 candidates had been recruited illegally in Group C (clerical) posts. Of them, 222 had not even appeared in interviews as they had not cracked the eligibility test in 2016. 

The report, portions of which were read out in the court in May, stated that Sinha used to go to Kalyanmoy Ganguly, then president of the state secondary education board, with the appointment letters and get them signed by him. 

Sinha was chairman of the advisory committee of the school service commission when the appointment letters were issued.  Sinha retired in 2012 from Jogesh Chandra Chaudhuri College, where he taught mathematics. Thereafter, he served as secretary of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, which was later helmed by Ganguly, against whom the court-appointed committee has made recommendations as well. 

Sinha became chairman of the school service commission’s advisory committee in 2016 and remained in the post till last year. The CBI had questioned Sinha on April 6 in connection with allegations of irregularities in the recruitment of staff for schools. 

Saha, a former secretary of the commission, had officiated as chairman of the commission from January to December 2020. He was also a member of the commission’s advisory panel. 

Last updated on 11.08.22, 06:44 AM

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