Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday arrested North Bengal University Vice-Chancellor Subires Bhattacharyya in connection with the School Service Commission (SSC) recruitment scam in West Bengal, the federal probe agency said.
“Yes, he has been arrested,” a CBI source told UNI.
Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a 172-page chargesheet before a city court relating to the scam, claiming that the total seizure of cash and immovable property so far was above Rs 103 crores.
Bhattacharya, a former chairperson of the West Bengal School Service Commission, was summoned for interrogation earlier in the day to the CBI office at Nizam Palace as it emerged during the investigation that he had played a role in the scam, the source claimed. He had been quizzed earlier too.
“During the questioning, it was found that he was not cooperating. So, he was arrested,” the source said.
In an evening media release, the CBI said Bhattacharya was allegedly involved in the “manipulation of scores of various candidates” before the preparation of the panel.
“…the accused in conspiracy with others, had allegedly obtained undue advantage for facilitating the illegal appointment of assistant teachers in Class IX and X (from among) undeserving and unlisted
candidates for appointment in various schools across West Bengal,” it said.
He will be produced on Tuesday before the Special Judge, CBI Court, Alipore.
Bhattacharya came under the CBI scanner last month when the agency sleuths quizzed him for nine hours within the university premises in connection with the scam.
His residences too were later searched. Bhattacharya, the SSC chairperson from 2014-2018, is the first vice-chancellor to be arrested in connection with the scam.
Bhattacharya’s name had also been mentioned in the report of the Justice (retired) R.K. Bag committee that had been tasked to look into the issue by the Calcutta High Court.
The committee had recommended a departmental probe against Bhattacharyya and some others in various posts of the SSC then.
The CBI, which is probing the criminality in the case as per a Calcutta High Court order on April 7, last month arrested Santi Prasad Sinha and Ashok Saha who were part of a five-member advisory
committee supervising recruitment by the SSC. Their names had figured in the FIR.
Prior to their arrest, two private persons/middleman were taken into custody on August 25 and 26. Both are now in Judicial Custody.
In July, the ED arrested senior Bengal minister and ruling Trinamool Congress heavyweight Partha Chatterjee and his “close associate, according to the agency- Arpita Mukherjee – for their alleged involvement in the scam. Chatterjee was the education minister when
the purported scam happened.
On Monday the ED chargesheet named Chatterjee, Mukherjee, as well as some companies allegedly floated by them. In a media statement, the agency said it has provisionally attached assets valued at Rs. 48.22 Crore comprising 40 immovable properties valued at Rs. 40.33 crore, besides 35 bank accounts with a cumulative balance of Rs. 7.89 crores.
Earlier, the agency had seized cash totalling Rs. 49.80 crores and gold & jewellery valued at over Rs. 5.08 Crore from two premises.
“The attached properties include flats, a farmhouse, prime land in the city of Kolkata and bank balance. The attached properties are found to be beneficially owned by Partha Chatterjee and Arpita Mukherjee. A number of the attached properties were kept in the name of dummy companies & firms and persons acting as proxy for Partha Chatterjee, ” the ED said.
With the present attachment, the total attachment/ seizure in the case stands at Rs. 103.10 Crore.
The ED is tracing the money trail of the alleged scam.