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Bengal municipalities recruitment case: CBI launches massive raids

IANS | June 07, 2023 12:49 PM

KOLKATA: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday kicked off a full-fledged investigation into the multi-crore municipalities recruitment scam in West Bengal by conducting simultaneous raid and search operations in different pockets of the state.

Escorted by central armed forces personnel, the investigation team reached the office of the state urban municipal affairs and urban development department, which is the nodal state government department for all urban civic bodies, including municipalities and municipal corporations.

Simultaneous raid and search operations were conducted at the offices of different municipalities in North 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Nadia district. Another team of CBI officers also conducted raids at the residence of private real estate promoter Ayan Sil, who is currently in judicial custody for his alleged involvement in the scam.

In fact, the issue of municipalities recruitment scam first surfaced when Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths were conducting raid and search operations at Sil's residence in connection with the agency's parallel probe in the school recruitment cases.

A total of 14 municipalities in the state are currently under the scanner of the probe agencies for massive irregularities in recruitments of clerks and workers against payment of money.

Reacting to the development, state municipal affairs & urban development minister and Kolkata Municipal corporation mayor Firhad Hakim said that an "unnecessary politics" is taking place over the central agency investigation in the matter.

The state government is fighting a legal battle at Calcutta High Court to stop the central agency probe in the municipalities' recruitment scam. Initially, Calcutta High Court's single-judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay gave permission for a central agency probe in the matter.

The state government approached the Supreme Court against the order, which referred the matter back to Calcutta High Court. Subsequently, the state government approached the Calcutta High Court's bench of Justice Amrita Sinha. However, Justice Sinha also upheld the order for a central agency probe in the matter.

Thereafter, the state government approached a division bench of Calcutta High Court in the matter. After two successive division benches recused from hearing the matter, finally on Tuesday a new bench was constituted to hear the matter.

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