Bengal job scam victim gets appointed as teacher seven years after passing test
After getting her appointment letter, Anamika Roy said that this is the happiest day in her life and hoped that others who were deprived like her get justice too
Seven years after she passed the eligibility test and four months after the Calcutta high court ordered that she be appointed by the West Bengal government as a schoolteacher, Anamika Roy, a resident of Siliguri and a victim of the recruitment scam in the state, finally got her appointment letter on Wednesday afternoon.
Roy could get the job because the services of two women who scored less than her in the 2016 eligibility test were terminated by the Calcutta high court.
“This is the happiest day of my life. I hope others who were deprived like me get justice too. They must take legal recourse,” Roy said after collecting her appointment letter from the office of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).
She will be teaching political science at the Ambari Harihar High School which, as ordered by the court, is located within 15 km of her residence.
Informed by the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) that her score in the eligibility test was not high enough, Roy had given up on her ambition to become a teacher. The scenario changed drastically last year.
In May, 2022, Calcutta high court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the appointment of non-teaching staff (Group C and D) and teaching staff by the WBSSC and the WBBSE between 2014 and 2021.
The appointees allegedly paid bribes in the range of ₹5 lakh to ₹15 lakh to get jobs after failing the selection tests, preliminary investigations revealed, promoting the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to start a parallel probe into the money trail.
The case took a new turn in June 2022 when Babita Sarkar, another woman from Siliguri, moved the court alleging that in 2018 former minister of state for education Paresh Chandra Adhikari’s daughter, Ankita Adhikari, was appointed as a political science teacher at Indira Girls High School in the adjacent Cooch Behar district although the latter scored less than her in the 2016 eligibility test.
Adhikari, a Forward Bloc leader from Cooch Behar, joined the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2016, the year his daughter appeared for the test.
Sarkar alleged before the court that she scored more than Ankita Adhikari but her name was placed on the waiting list for political science teachers.
The state government informed the court during a hearing that Sarkar’s allegation was correct.
In June, 2022, justice Gangopadhyay ordered the termination of Ankita Adhikari’s service and directed her to return the salary she drew over 41 months. The former minister and his daughter were booked by CBI under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court also ordered Sarkar’s recruitment and directed the government to give her a compensation of ₹15 lakh for not being appointed on time. The money, the court said, was to come from the salary Adhikari was asked to return.
On May 16 this year, justice Gangopadhyay revised his year-old order and terminated Sarkar’s services when the WBSSC told the court that Anamika Roy, who had also approached the court claiming her score was even higher, was in fact right.
“The court directed WBSSC to appoint Anamika Roy in Sarkar’s place and asked the latter to return the sum of ₹15 lakh she received as compensation,” Roy’s lawyer, Sudipta Dasgupta, said.
On Monday, Dasgupta approached the court saying his client did not receive the appointment letter although four months had passed.
“The letter could not be given because the Siliguri police took time in preparing the police verification report which is mandatory for all government jobs. The hard copy of the report reached our office on Friday evening. We issued a notification on Roy’s appointment on Monday,” a WBBSE official said on condition of anonymity.
The bribe-for-job scam has triggered a political slugfest in Bengal.
ED arrested education minister Partha Chatterjee and his close aide Arpita Mukherjee on July 23 last year. In its first charge sheet filed on September 19, 2022, ED said it traced cash, jewellery and immovable property worth ₹103.10 crore linked to the duo.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee removed Chatterjee from the government and also suspended him from the TMC, days after his arrest.
TMC legislator and former president of the state primary education board, Manik Bhattacharya, was arrested by ED on October 11 last year.
Several former officials of the education department have been named in charge sheets by ED.