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WB: High Court Dismisses Daughter of Minister Paresh Adhikari From Teachership

The court has also asked Ankita Adhikari to return the salary received by her in two instalments.
Paresh Chandra Adhikari

Paresh Chandra Adhikari. | Image Courtesy: Twitter

Kolkata: On Friday, May 20, the Calcutta High Court dismissed the employment of West Bengal Minister of State for Education Paresh Chandra Adhikari’s daughter in a government-aided school and asked her to return the salary she had drawn during her tenure as a teacher. Paresh Chandra Adhikari was formerly associated with the All India Forward Bloc and was a Minister in Left Front Government before joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2018. He was appointed minister in 2021.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on May 19, registered an FIR against West Bengal Minister of State for Education Paresh Chandra Adhikari for his failure to meet the deadline set by High Court for an appearance before the investigator in connection with the case. The FIR came after an order by the Calcutta High Court on May 17 directing the "CBI of Eastern Region to register a case and start the enquiry immediately" in connection with the appointment of the minister's daughter as a teacher in the State-run school.

The CBI has also called former state education minister Partha Chatterjee for a second round of interrogation in connection with the alleged SSC Scam. According to the source, Adhikari and his daughter were booked under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), besides sections under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The single bench of Justice Avijit Gangopadhyay directed Ankita Adhikari to no longer be able to introduce herself as a teacher and to return the salary paid to her in November 2018 in two instalments with the registrar. The first instalment is to be deposited at the Calcutta High Court due June 7, 2022, and the second on July 7.

Earlier, the High Court was hearing the petition filed by candidate Babita Barman who claimed that she was deprived of the position despite having secured higher marks than Adhikari's daughter in the recruitment examination. After a hearing at High Court on Thursday, May 19, Paresh Adhikari was again CBI interrogated for 2 hours on Friday, May 20. On Thursday afternoon, Adhikari and his daughter were directed by Justice Avijit Gangopadhyay to attend to CBI for 2 hours. However, Adhikari failed to reach Nijam Palace as directed by Justice; he was later CBI interrogated the same evening. On Friday, he was again interrogated for about 10 hours.

The SSC recruitment scam in West Bengal is now a bigger matter of political discussion throughout the state. A petition filed by Babita Barman has led to this situation. Babita claimed that she had applied for the job of a teacher, and after clearing the recruitment examination, she managed to acquire the rank of waiting list number 20. She was hopeful that by the fifth counselling of recruitment to a political science teacher position, for classes 11 and 12, she would get a chance. But, suddenly, she found her waiting number changed to 21, and Ankita Adhikari was given her spot. Petitioner Babita Barman added to Calcutta high court that while she scored 77 marks in the state-level selection test held in 2016, Ankita got 61 marks. Despite this, Ankita was recruited as a school teacher in Indira Uccha Vidyalaya, Mekhligunj, in the Cooch Behar district.

Hearing of this case led to several investigations and the opening of numerous layers, therefore, suspecting the involvement of several ministers in their alleged use of power in the SSC recruitment process. Ranjana Rai, Headmistress of Indira Uccha Vidyalaya, Coochbehar, says Paresh Chandra Adhikari allegedly used his power to manipulate Coochbehar SSC Merit and enlisted his daughter Ankita Adhikari’s roll number in place of another deserving candidates slot.

According to the sources, Coochbehar’s Political Science teacher recruitment merit list of reserved category enlisted petitioner Babita Barman at the top, whose roll number was 22221627000720. At the same time, the second and the third slot was acquired by Lopamudra Mondal and Chaya Rai, respectively.

Unfortunately, later on, it was found that the first slot was acquired by Ankita Adhikari’s roll number, which was cleverly manipulated and enlisted as 22221627000227 instead of the real roll number of the deserving candidate petitioner Babita Barman. Paresh Chandra Adhikari did this just after 72 hours after his joining Trinamool by the end of the year 2018.

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