SIT formed by CBI to probe secondary school recruitment, rules High Court
The Calcutta High Court on Friday directed that a special investigation team (SIT) of the CBI which is probing alleged illegal appointment of teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided primary schools - will also look into cases of irregularities in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in secondary schools.
The court had earlier ruled that the agency would inquire into the secondary school appointments.
The CBI submitted the names of six SIT members, who will be investigating the cases under close supervision of its anti-corruption branch's superintendent of police, and its joint director.
N Venugopal, the joint director of the anti-corruption branch, shall head the SIT and supervise the whole investigation, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directed.
Additional superintendent of police (ASP) of the anti-corruption bureau, two deputy superintendents of police and three inspectors are the other members of the team.
On an objection to the induction of one of the DSP-rank officers by petitioner's lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya, the assistant solicitor general, representing the CBI, told Justice Gangopadhyay that he will discuss the matter with his opposite party and take a call on the issue, which will be informed to the court.
Justice Gangopadhyay directed that all the cases being probed by the CBI in connection with irregularities in recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in secondary schools, on the court's order, will now be looked into by the SIT.
Starting November 2021, Justice Gangopadhyay has ordered CBI probe in at least eight cases in connection with appointments of Group-C, Group D staff and teachers for classes 9 and 10 in government-sponsored and -aided schools by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education on recommendations from the state's School Service Commission.
He had held that hundreds of illegal appointments have taken place.
On June 15, Justice Gangopadhyay ordered the formation of a SIT of the CBI led by a joint director of the anti-corruption branch into alleged irregularities in teacher recruitment in the primary schools and directed that its members cannot be transferred till conclusion of the probe.
He also directed that the members of the SIT will not be engaged in any matter other than probing the alleged irregularities in primary teacher recruitment.
Ordering that the probe into the alleged irregularities will be monitored by the court, he directed the CBI to submit the names of members of the team to it by Friday.
The CBI on Friday also submitted progress reports on its investigations conducted so far in the cases that the agency is probing on the court's orders.
The lawyer of minister Paresh Adhikari's daughter submitted that Rs 7.94 lakhs, which she had drawn as salary from her illegal appointment in a school, has been returned to the state Education department as the first of two instalments that has been asked of her.
State ministers Partha Chatterjee and Paresh Adhikari have been questioned by the CBI for in connection with separate cases of school appointments.
Expressing dissatisfaction at the progress of probe in these cases, the judge had said on Tuesday he had doubts whether it was the right move to burden the central agency with investigation into so many matters.
The judge had wondered aloud in court whether it would have been better to form a special investigation team to probe the cases.
Maintaining that the CBI is taking the matter very seriously, Bhattacharya told the court on Wednesday that the coming weeks will be "very eventful".
On being asked by the court whether there is any shortage of staff in its Kolkata office, the CBI counsel had said that it has been taken care of.