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SSC scam: CBI eager to know why Partha not in control of appointments

CBI sources said the statements made by the TMC secretary general on the question on who in his knowledge would pull the strings behind the advisory panel.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Former state education minister and Trinamul Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday faced the second round of grilling by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) scam.

After a marathon eight-hour intense grilling since 11 in the morning, Chatterjee finally exited from Nizam place at 7.10 pm.

Currently, state commerce and industries minister Chatterjee faced a set of most uncomfortable questions since the beginning, sources said.

Highly-placed CBI sources said that the second phase of grilling started exactly from the point where it ended in the first round of interrogation on 18 May.

On 18 May, the sources said, Chatterjee told the interrogating officials that although he constituted a five-member screening committee for the purpose of recruitment, he did not have the control or knowledge on the day-to-day functioning of the said committee. To recall, a Calcutta High Court-appointed judicial committee not only declared the said committee as illegal but also charged its members of making recruitment recommendations even after the lapse of the committee’s tenure.

Sources said the first question that was asked to Chatterjee was that as the then state education minister why he was not vigilant or why he did not try to exercise his control over the screening committee, perceived to be the root of all the regularities in the body.

Sources said that after Chatterjee was unable to be give satisfactory and consistent answers to this question, the next question that he faced was whether anyone from outside WBSSC or the state education department tried to influence the day-to-day functioning of the committee and if that has happened as the-then state education minister why did he not try to arrest that external influence.

CBI sources said the statements made by the TMC secretary general on the question on who in his knowledge would pull the strings behind the advisory panel.

A source in the know of today’s  developments claimed that out of eight hours of intense questioning, the first two hours  were initiated by the investigation officer himself in which his statements were recorded.

Then a break of half an hour was given to him after that a marathon session of four hours of interrogation was held by an officer of the SP rank and an additional director to elicit information on how he could be kept out of the loop being the minister regarding the alleged appointments.

A source claimed that the former education minister had tried to scuttle the probe by either trying to be oblivious to the fact or by shrugging off as being not under his knowledge.

Sources also claimed that Chatterjee’s statements had been tallied with those made by the quintet, including chief of the advisory panel Shanti Prasad Sinha.

There is some discrepancy in his statements, which the officers would verify with those of the advisory panel members.

Chatterje had earlier submitted documents regarding his bank statements and I-T returns filed for the last five years to the officers.

The agency would now tally the documents with those they have sought from the I-T department, claimed the source.