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WB: HC Orders Removal of TMC’s Manik Bhattacharya as Primary Education Board Chairman

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhaya of Calcutta High Court ordered immediate removal of the MLA on grounds of submitting false documents and irregularities in a recruitment corruption case.

Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court has ordered the immediate removal of Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLA Manik Bhattacharya from the post of chairman of the Board of Primary Education. He has been accused of submitting fake documents.

Bhattacharya is a sitting MLA from Palashipara constituency.

According to the order by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, Bhattacharya was directed to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a primary teacher recruitment corruption case. According to CBI sources, there were allegations of irregularities against him in the initial recruitment corruption case.

The court said on Monday that several documents related to the 2014 primary teacher recruitment were sought. But the board did not submit the documents and misled the court. Documents for 2022 have been submitted instead of 2018 and the chairman of the board is considered fully responsible for this, the court said.

In the documents submitted to the court, none of the applications of 2,787 candidates who had applied for a re-evaluation were submitted. The court also questioned the validity of the decision to give an additional 1 mark to 263 candidates on October 3, 2018.

In addition to the court's decision, all documents submitted will be sent to Delhi for forensic investigation.

Justice Gangopadhyay said: "This court is sceptical about how the

various documents of the board and the special committee signed in 2017 are still so clear and bright. That is why a forensic examination is needed.”

On Monday, Justice Gangopadhyay said the Board Secretary Ratna Chakraborty Bagchi would take over as chairman of the board until a new person was appointed. For the time being,

no one else can be appointed to this post.

After Monday’s court order, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty said: "It is not surprising that he (Bhattacharya) has been chairman of the board for so long. Removal will not be the solution. He will have to be put in custody.”

Earlier, a person named Ramesh Ali had filed a case in the High Court alleging irregularities in the merit list for the appointment of primary teachers. He had alleged that the list had 68 names of candidates who had not passed. He said that about 23 lakh job seekers had appeared for the exam, out of which 42,000 candidates were given appointment letters as teachers.

Ali had also alleged irregularities in the second merit list that was published for this appointment.

The plaintiff's lawyer Bikasharanjan Bhattacharya and lawyer Sudipta Dasgupta told the court that the real purpose of publishing the second merit list was to get additional candidates jobs.

Note that the initial TET (Teachers Eligibility Test) notification was given in 2014. The test was taken on October 11, 2015. The merit list was created in 2016 and recruitment started. There are many allegations of irregularities in that merit list. The second merit list was published in 2016. On that basis, Justice Gangopadhyay on Monday ordered the dismissal of 269 people.

The court has also ordered that the salaries of these 269 candidates be stopped and they should not be allowed to enter the school premises.

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