A high court-appointed committee headed by a former judge has said 381 candidates were appointed in Group C posts in government-aided schools after the expiration of the panel of shortlisted candidates on May 18, 2019, and recommended FIRs against top officials.
The report, submitted before the division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Ananda Mukherjee, says that of the 381 candidates illegally recruited in Group C (clerical) posts, 222 had not even appeared in interviews as they had not cracked the eligibility test held in 2016.
The 400-page report, prepared by a committee headed by Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag, a retired judge of the high court, says a former chairman of an advisory committee set up for the selection process, Shanti Prasad Sinha, and president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, Kalyanmoy Ganguly, were key persons behind the foul play.
The report, portions of which were read out in the court, says Sinha used to go to Ganguly with the appointment letters and get them signed by him. The signed letters were handed to the candidates by Rajesh Layek, who was then technical officer of the SSC, the report says.
The committee has recommended FIRs against SInha and other former members of the advisory committee — Ashok Kumar Saha, Soumitra Sarkar and Samarjit Acharya — under IPC Sections 407 (criminal breach of trust), 465 (forgery), 468 (forgery for the purpose of cheating) and 34 (common intention).
It has also recommended that Ganguly and Sinha be charged under IPC Section 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The committee also says other members of the advisory committee and some high ranking officials of the SSC seem to be part of the recruitment scam.
The committee has recommended departmental proceedings against former SSC officials Sharmila Mitra, Chaitali Bhattacharya, Subhajit Chatterjee, Mahua Biswas, Sheikh Sirajuddin and Subiresh Bhattacharya on charges of violating SSC recruitment rules.
The report says there was no legal sanction for a five-member recruitment committee that was said to have been formed by then education minister Partha Chatterjee. So the committee was not brought within the purview of the probe panel.
The division bench of Justices Talukdar and Mukherjee accepted the recommendations and said the decision of the bench would be announced on May 18.
Earlier, three petitions alleging illegal recruitment in Group C and Group D posts and teachers for Classes IX and X in government-aided schools were moved before Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the high court.
Counsel for the petitioners said the jobs were offered after the expiry of the panel of shortlisted candidates prepared for such recruitments.
Justice Gangopadhyay directed the CBI to probe the allegations.
The state education department and the SSC appealed against the order before the division bench headed by Justice Harish Tandon of the court. Justice Tandon’s bench issued an interim stay on Justice Gangopadhyay’s orders and formed the committee headed by Justice Bag.
Justice Gangopadhyay also ordered Sinha to submit his list of properties. Following an appeal by Sinha, Justice Tandon asked the bench to submit the list in a sealed cover.
Justice Gangopadhyay openly criticised the role of the division bench.
Following that, Justice Harish Tandon refused to hear SSC-related cases on “personal ground”.
At least four other division benches of the court refused to hear the appeals thereafter and the cases landed in Justice Talukdar’s division bench after the intervention of the Chief Justice of the high court, Prakash Srivastava.
Justice Talukdar asked the Justice Bag’s committee to continue his probe.