The government is being maligned in the state regarding the appointment of teachers. Whether Mamata Didi likes it or not, her cabinet members are feeling it very well. They believe that the teacher recruitment scandal has tarnished their image.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who dreams of uniting the opposition parties and becoming the prime minister, is surrounded in her own state. Massive scams in various schemes in the state are becoming a big challenge against them. The heat of the multi-crore scam perpetrated by the former education minister of the state, caught in the clutches of the CBI and the ED in the teacher recruitment scam, has also begun to fall on him. What would be a shame is that recently the Calcutta High Court, commenting on the case of a person being deprived of a job in basic education, said that Bengal is becoming a place where no work is done without money.
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is known for her defiant demeanour, is going through a most challenging phase. The illegal teacher recruitment scam on behalf of the School Service Commission alone is posing a major threat to the government. In which qualified youths were not appointed, but those who were not qualified were appointed after taking lakhs of rupees. Those who were not appointed despite being eligible as protestants came down to protest. There were sit-ins and demonstrations. The bright unemployed youth of the state whose dreams have been shattered have been fasting near the Gandhi statue in Calcutta for the past 508 days.
The CBI investigation on the orders of the Calcutta High Court has now begun to reveal the layers of this scam one after another. Former Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and his female friend Arpita have been arrested in this case. Parth Chatterjee, the prime accused in the scam, is not responding to the Enforcement Directorate (ED)’s repeated questions about who owns the Rs 50 crore, jewels and land-flat recovered from his girlfriend. They often say that there is a conspiracy against them. However, he has admitted that he was recruiting at the behest of many of his party leaders. Parth and Arpita were running eight fake companies together. Their accounts have been frozen by the ED. Another lady friend of Parth is said to have ten flats in the state. He has fled to Bangladesh fearing arrest.
Such a big scam has come to light in the education department in the state. The question is why the Chief Minister himself does not come forward and take action. Why did the matter go to the High Court? The reason for his silence in the political camps is said to be the closeness of Parth, the mastermind of the scam. Not only this, the ED has summoned 8 IPS officers from the state to Delhi for questioning in the coal scam in the state. These people have already rendered their services in smuggling districts. Meanwhile, CBI has arrested TMC leader Anubrat Mandal in cattle smuggling. While the state is in this state, due to scams and irregularities, the funds of three important central schemes – MNREGA, PM Gramin Sadak Yojana and Awas Yojana – have been frozen. The Center says that the state government is not providing information on the expenditure of this amount.
The government is being maligned in the state regarding the appointment of teachers. Whether Mamata Didi likes it or not, her cabinet members are feeling it very well. They believe that the teacher recruitment scandal has tarnished their image. State government minister Firhad Hakeem clearly stated this. We feel ashamed in the case of Partha Chatterjee. But that doesn’t mean we are all corrupt. We spent most of our life in social service without giving to family. We did not do this because we should be called corrupt.
Mamata Didi may not have felt it, but she could not deny the truth of the statement of state government minister Firhad Hakim. A recent remark by a single judge-bench of the Calcutta High Court is enough to expose the rampant corruption in the state. The court said in Miraj Shaikh’s case that West Bengal has become a state where no person can secure or retain a state government job without paying money. A single-judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay also named Manik Bhattacharya, former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education and Trinamool Congress MLA, four months after his appointment.
Mr. Gangopadhyay said, “Probably, the plaintiff did not pay Manik Bhattacharya and hence his employment was terminated. West Bengal has become a state where no one can get a state government job without paying money. Miraj Sheikh was appointed as a primary teacher in a government school in Murshidabad district of West Bengal in December 2021. Just four months after joining the service, his service was terminated on the grounds that he did not have 45 per cent qualifying marks in graduation to be appointed in the reserved category as per board norms. Shaikh challenged the order and produced his graduation certificate in support. His score in this was 46 percent. After hearing the arguments of both sides and being satisfied with the documents produced by the plaintiff, Justice Gangopadhyay ordered immediate reinstatement of the plaintiff as a primary teacher. Then he made this comment.
(The writer is a senior journalist)