The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought details of appointments in several municipalities from the urban development and municipal affairs department and the West Bengal Municipal Service Commission as part of its probe into alleged irregularities in appointments.
Officials in the central investigating agency said the details would help them uncover corruption, if any, in recruitments in municipalities and find out whether money changed hands for jobs.
“The probe will try to find out if there was money involved in the recruitments in municipalities and then trace the trail of this money under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said a senior ED official.
“Earlier this month, we filed an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against businessman Ayan Sil to start the probe.”
An ECIR is the ED’s equivalent of a police FIR.
Officers said the immediate trigger of the probe is a finding by the agency that Sil was involved in recruiting close to 5,000 candidates to permanent posts in around 60 municipalities.
He was also allegedly involved in irregularities in recruitments in government-aided schools.
Under the scanner are several civic bodies near Kolkata, including South Dum Dum, Kamarhati, Panihati, North Dum Dum and Baranagar municipalities, as well as a few in north Bengal.
There are 123 municipalities and seven municipal corporations across the state.
The collective sanctioned strength in these urban bodies (excluding the Kolkata Municipal Corporation) is just over 79,000 and the current strength is around 39,000.
Before the 2018-19 financial year, recruitments in municipalities were done through agencies recommended by the directorate of local body (DLB), officials in the municipal affairs department said.
The agencies were chosen based on bids submitted by them after a tender was floated.
“This system was later done away with. The West Bengal Municipal Service Commission was entrusted with the task of handling all recruitments in municipalities,” a senior official in the urban development department said.
Sil’s firm was allegedly involved in recruiting close to 5,000 candidates in around 60 municipalities, according to ED sources. The businessman owned ABS Infozon, which was tasked with barcoding and evaluating OMR sheets used in selection tests.
“We will examine the process of how some of the candidates were selected and what their qualifications are,” the official said.
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