CBI conducts searches at 20 locations in Bengal over irregularities in municipal appointments
The searches were spread across the offices of 14 municipal corporations, including Dum Dum, Halisahar and Bada Nagar, three premises of FIR named accused Ayan Sil and three other locations, they said.
The CBI has conducted searches at 20 locations in West Bengal in connection with the alleged irregularities in municipal recruitment, officials said on Wednesday. The searches were spread across the offices of 14 municipal corporations, including Dum Dum, Halisahar and Bada Nagar, three premises of FIR named accused Ayan Sil and three other locations, they said. The CBI teams also raided the office of the state urban development department in the Salt Lake area, he said.
According to the official, allegations of cash-for-jobs had surfaced over the appointments of personnel in these civic bodies for which the search operations were taking place. State Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim termed the raids "part of a conspiracy" hatched by the BJP. "There are reasons to believe that it is an act of revenge by the BJP, which has been using central agencies against its political opponents. We have nothing against fair investigations, but we believe that such raids are part of a conspiracy. We want the truth to come out," he told reporters.
BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya claimed that the CBI is investigating the alleged job scam in municipalities on the direction of the Calcutta High Court. Thus, the TMC's claim about conspiracy is "baseless". "Hakim is aware of the fact that sections of TMC workers are disgruntled for not getting jobs in local civic bodies, and they are happy with the court's order and CBI searches," Bhattacharya said.
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The CBI has registered an FIR in an alleged scam in the recruitment of various posts in different municipalities of West Bengal on the orders of the Calcutta High Court. The case was registered against Sil and his company ABS Infozone Pvt Ltd, which was engaged in the printing and evaluation of OMR sheets, for alleged manipulation of the scores of aspirants, officials said. Calcutta High Court's Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay ordered the CBI to probe the municipality recruitment scam case on April 21.
Justice Gangopadhyay had instructed West Bengal's director general of police and the chief secretary to assist the CBI and ED in their investigation into the alleged scam in municipal recruitment if requested by the central agencies. The ED had stated that a separate FIR would be required to investigate the alleged municipality recruitment scam under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act by the predicate agency -- the CBI.
The ED had also shared detailed information with the CBI and requested it to investigate the alleged irregularities in municipal recruitment since the proceeds of crime from the alleged teachers' recruitment scam were allegedly intermingled with those from the alleged municipality recruitment scam.
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