The Calcutta High Court expressed its displeasure with the CBI’s investigational progress after ordering investigations in a number of cases since last November.
In the case of Ramesh Malik & Ors v. The State of West Bengal & Ors (WPA 7909 of 2019), a single judge bench presided over by Honourable Justice Gangopadhyay had previously ordered a CBI investigation into at least eight instances of alleged illegalities in the appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education in government sponsored and aided schools on the recommendations of the West Bengal School Service Commission.
The judge stated his displeasure with how the investigation into these cases was going, ” “This court does not believe the CBI’s investigation into the education employment scam up to this point and in some other matters is very satisfactory. The CBI was only given the above two cases a few days ago, but other cases involving an investigation into secondary education were given to the CBI months ago, and I haven’t been informed of any significant developments in those cases.”
Facts of the case:
The CBI was tasked with conducting an investigation into the 269 primary teachers whose appointments were later determined to be unlawful, and the Court was making a decision in that case. Upendranath Biswas, a former CBI additional director who oversaw the investigation into the Bihar fodder scam that resulted in the conviction of that state’s former chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, posted on social media about the alleged irregularities.
From 2011 to 2016, Chandan Mondal of Bagda, North 24 Parganas, was a minister in the first Mamata Banerjee government. According to Biswas, he allegedly gave jobs to primary school teachers in exchange for money.
In order to investigate alleged irregularities in the hiring of teachers in state government-sponsored and -aided primary schools, the Court ordered the CBI to establish a special investigation team (SIT) under the direction of a Joint Director of its anti-corruption branch. The SIT members cannot be transferred from Kolkata until the investigation is over, the court further ordered. The Court also stated that it would continue to keep an eye on the investigation into the education sector fraud.
The Court emphasized that such “unscrupulous persons” who were improperly appointed as teachers must be prosecuted and that the CBI has been given a very important responsibility, and said “I anticipate that the CBI will conduct the investigation in good faith, and by doing so, the court should not feel that the CBI is not doing any real work in the future. The court has given the CBI a very very important responsibility relating to scam in education sector appointments, including school teachers, which has very serious ramifications because if dishonest people are appointed as teachers by purchasing the teaching jobs, this court does not believe that such persons will be able to impart any moral education and build the characters of the tender aged students.”
The D.I.G. of the CBI’s Anti Corruption Bureau testified during the proceedings that the CBI is carrying out its work at its own pace, which may not always be known or disclosed to the general public, and that the Court will be informed of any such developments without a doubt.
The Court postponed the matter for further hearing to June 17 in the hopes that the CBI would make observable progress in the investigation.
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Judgement Reviewed By Manju Molakalapalli.