The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Jiban Krishna Saha, a legislator of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), for his alleged involvement in the recruitment scam of assistant teachers in government schools in the state of West Bengal. This follows the arrest of two other TMC MLAs, Partha Chatterjee, and Manik Bhattacharya, in connection with the same scam.
The CBI conducted searches at six locations, including Saha’s premises, in Birbhum, Murshidabad, and Kolkata last week. Officials have been stationed at Saha’s residence since Friday, and he was questioned for 65 hours before his arrest on Monday.
The CBI has accused Saha of being the main conduit for collecting money from candidates by promising them jobs in the education department as teachers for classes 9 and 10. During the search at Saha’s residence, the CBI claimed to have found five bags of “incriminating” documents from the bushes near the boundary wall of his house. They also recovered one of Saha’s two cell phones, which he had allegedly dumped in a pond behind his house. The CBI sent the recovered phone to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory to retrieve the data, and they are still trying to recover the other phone.
The court had ordered the CBI to investigate the recruitment scam last April, following which they registered a case. The scam involves the illegal appointment of Group D staff and assistant teachers in government schools for monetary gains. Former education minister Partha Chatterjee and officials of the State Education Department are among the more than 12 accused who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the scam.
Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had directed the CBI to investigate the matter and interrogate Dr. Santi Prasad Sinha, the former advisor of the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC), whose role in the scam is also being investigated. Justice Gangopadhyay had observed that the matter needed to be investigated by the CBI as it related to the appointment of assistant teachers in classes 9 and 10. The CBI is also looking into the list of candidates and the amounts mentioned against them recovered during the searches.