Opposition parties of West Bengal on Thursday demanded the resignation of Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and his deputy Paresh Chandra Adhikari from their posts in the wake of the CBI investigation in the SSC scam, even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened to expose illegal recruitments made during the erstwhile Left Front regime. As the CBI questioned the two ministers on consecutive days since Wednesday on Calcutta High Court orders in connection with cases related to the scam, Banerjee accused the BJP-led central government of unleashing a “Tughlaqi raj” in the country and ” misusing federal agencies to settle political scores.
The agency has been investigating a number of cases where teaching and non-teaching staff were allegedly appointed illegally in schools following recommendations by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission (SSC).
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar and senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty demanded that both ministers should resign for their alleged involvement in the scam. In an apparent reference to the CBI investigation into the SSC scam, Banerjee said, “A lot of things are being said about discrepancies in recruitment. People are well aware of those who are involved in corruption. They don’t like such people, nor do I. If someone has committed any wrong, the law will take its own course.
“But this vilification campaign should stop. During the Left Front regime, transfers were made and jobs were given by writing down names on (plain) paper. I will reveal the irregularities soon.” Reacting to the allegation of the TMC supremo, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty claimed that Banerjee is trying to divert attention by blaming the Left Front government. “The allegations are baseless. If there was any wrongdoing in recruitments during the Left rule, let the TMC prove it. We are not afraid of any investigation. Both the ministers should immediately resign from their posts,” Chakraborty said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had on Wednesday quizzed senior TMC leader and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee as the alleged recruitment scam had taken place when he was the education minister. Adhikari who is the minister of state for education was grilled on Thursday by CBI sleuths regarding a case of alleged illegal appointment of his daughter as a teacher in a state government-aided school.
BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar mocked Adhikari for disappearing all of a sudden instead of appearing before the CBI. “It seems some magic was going on as the minister suddenly went missing and again reappeared. This only proves how those guilty are trying to evade the investigating agencies. He should resign as minister,” Majumdar said.
The court had directed Adhikari to appear before the CBI on May 17. He was seen to board the Kolkata-bound Padatik Express train at Jalpaiguri Road station in north Bengal along with his daughter on May 17 night but had remained untraceable since then. Following fresh high court orders, he appeared before the CBI on Thursday evening after initially failing to meet the 3 pm deadline set by the court on Thursday.
Senior TMC leaders maintained a stoic silence on the issue. “The law will take its own course. We don’t want to comment on this issue as of now as it is sub-judice. Those who have been summoned are yet to comment. So, it won’t be right to make any on behalf of the party,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.
Senior leader and minister Shashi Panja also refused to comment saying that the matter is sub-judice.