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SSC appointments: Not 25, 500 plus group-D staff got jobs by SSC in corrupt way

Calcutta High Court

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): The case of recruitment of group-D staff by the School Service Commission is getting murkier by the day, with new twists and turns as the hearing commenced on Thursday.

A dismayed Calcutta High Court Judge, Abhijit Gangopadhyay, hearing the case, remarked, “When society is full of corruption, no extra time can be given. Everyone calls themselves honest. However, one can see that the country is being sold out due to corruption.”

On Thursday, the third day of the hearing, new facts came out tumbling in front of the court in the alleged irregularities in group-D staff appointments by the School Service Commission (SSC). This time, a finger was also pointed at the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE). The complainants claimed that not just 25 (as reported earlier to the court), more than 500 people have been recruited following corrupt practices. Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directed the complainants to submit the list of names and addresses of each of them.

A case was filed in the court in 2019 alleging that a lot of appointments had been made even after the expiration of the term of the group-D staff recruitment panel. Initially, allegations of irregularities were raised against the commission. But the commission told the court on Wednesday that it had not made any recommendations regarding the appointment. They even submitted an affidavit on Thursday, which led to the WBBSE’s name cropping up.

However, the board’s lawyer denied the allegations on Thursday. He said the board did not make any appointments on its own and all appointments were made following the recommendations of the commission, leading the respective lawyers to blame each other.

A visibly shocked Justice Gangopadhyay directed the board to submit its affidavit on Monday. Its lawyer wanted an extra day owing to holidays in between, leading the judge to remark, “When society is full of corruption, no extra time can be given.”

The lawyer of the complainants, Bikasha Ranjan Bhattacharya told the court that the number of recruitments was over 500. On hearing this, the judge directed them to submit all the lists along with the evidence to the court on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Justice Gangopadhyay said he was not satisfied with the affidavit submitted by the SSC. The angry judge returned it and ordered the affidavit to be re-submitted within half-an-hour.

The commission had told the high court on Wednesday that it had not made any recommendations on the appointments. The court then wanted this information in writing. But the WBBSE said on Thursday that they had made the appointments following the commission’s recommendations.

Senior lawyer Bikasha Ranjan Bhattacharya later said, “No doubt, this is one of the biggest scams in West Bengal. Post 2011, all appointments in the state have been done in a corrupt way. In this case, corruption has gone to such a level that one department of the government is blaming the other in court. It needs to be rightly investigated. I’m sure this involves corruption of crores of rupees and there may be more than 500 names that can come up as days go on. This case can only be compared to that of the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh. I’m sure the truth will come out in this case.”