Tapas Mondal, one of the key witnesses to the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal, on Wednesday accused the Trinamool Congressman and the former chairman of the West Bengal Primary Education Board ( WBBPE), Manik Bhattacharya, to be a recipient of a share in admission. fees received by different private colleges leading to a Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El. Ed) in the state.
Mondal, president of the All Bengal Teachers’ Training Achievers’ Association (ABTTAA), an umbrella organization of these private D.El.Ed colleges, was a close associate of Bhattacharya.
He himself ran a number of these private colleges. On Wednesday, he appeared before Enforcement Branch (ED) detectives to face questioning in relation to the scam.
Speaking briefly to the media on standby, Mondal made serious allegations against Bhattacharyya which all but corroborated ED’s findings that applicants wishing to enroll offline in some private training colleges had to pay Rs 5,000 each, part of which went to Bhattacharya, who is currently in custody for his alleged involvement in the primary school teacher recruitment scam.
“Applicants had to pay Rs 5,000 each for offline registration. “He” used to send people to my office to collect files and money, which was confirmed by staff in my office,” Mondal said.
When asked who was the person who sent people to his office, Mondal replied: “Manik Babu”.
Meanwhile, ED sources said that as per the rules, the admission process for these private training colleges is online. However, after online admission ended, some seats often remained vacant. For these vacant seats, offline registrations were made for which each candidate had to pay a sum of Rs 5,000, part of which would go to Bhattacharya.
ED sources said it was to investigate whether these applicants for offline enrollment had been appointed primary school teachers at a later stage.
“To this end, the questioning of Tapas Mondal is important since he is aware of important information on this count,” they said.
As a reminder, on October 24, ED’s lawyer, Phiroze Edulji, informed a lower court that following a preliminary investigation, the central agency had traced properties worth Rs 10 crore belonging to to Bhattacharya and his family members.
Edulji had informed that ED detectives had traced Rs 3 crore from a bank account jointly held by Bhattacharya’s wife Satarupa Bhattacharya and a deceased person named Mrityunjoy Chakraborty.
The ED lawyer also informed the court that a compact disc was recovered from Bhattacharya’s residence which contained the names of 4,000 people.
In cross-checking with WBBPE authorities, central agency officials confirmed that 2,500 out of those 4,000 got jobs as primary school teachers.
(The story was posted via a syndicated feed with an edited title.)