Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday raided two Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Firhad Hakim and Madan Mitra residences in connection with the alleged civil municipal bodies recruitment ‘scam’.
While Hakim is the Minister of Urban Development in West Bengal and also the Kolkata Mayor, Mitra is an MLA from Kamarhati.
The raids are ongoing at around 12 places including Kolkata, Kanchrapara, Barrackpore, Halisahar, Dumdum, North Dum Dum, Krishnanagar, Taki, Kamarhati, Chetla, Bhowanipore and other places.
Multiple raids are being conducted at the premises of several people including public servants involved in an ongoing investigation on municipal recruitment.
A case has been registered against the director of a private company and some other individuals following the orders of the Calcutta High Court.
CBI officials alleged that all contracts pertaining to various Municipalities, District Primary School Councils and others for the recruitment of Group C and Group D employees were given to the private company.
It was further alleged that the said company was entrusted with all the tasks like setting up of question papers, printing and scanning of OMR sheets and preparation of the final merit list.
It was also alleged that the Director of the private company and other individuals including public servants hatched a conspiracy among themselves. In pursuant to that conspiracy, the accused who was responsible for the printing, designing and evaluation of OMR sheets allegedly facilitated the illegal appointments of several unmeritorious candidates in several municipalities in lieu of money.
The ongoing raids sparked various reactions from political leaders in the state. TMC leaders have questioned the timing of the raids especially when the party’s MGNREGA protests are ongoing and the elections are around the corner.
Questioning the raids, TMC MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “Is this an intentionally used agency action against the TMC at a time when protests are ongoing in front of the Raj Bhawan in demand of MGNREGA funds?”
“What is the result of the raids and investigation? In maximum cases, these are not projected at all. We are prepared to cooperate with CBI and ED at every stage,” he said speaking to ANI.
Bandyopadhyay also said that “prestigious institutions” must try to keep their “prestige”.
Meanwhile, state Women and Child Development Minister Shashi Panja said that the Bharatiya Janata Party has resorted to such an action because the MGNREGA protest in Bengal is gaining strength.
“This is the fourth day of our protest…The Bharatiya Janata Party cannot fight politically. So they have unleashed two puppets CBI and ED on the two leaders. Our fight on real issues will go on,” Panja said speaking to ANI.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Rahul Sinha said that the CBI must have got new evidence against the two TMC leaders due to which the raids are ongoing.
“Both Firhad Hakim and Madan Mitra’s names were coming up repeatedly in the municipal service scam. The CBI must have come upon new evidence which is why the raids are ongoing,” Sinha said speaking to ANI.
Sinha also reminded the TMC about the mountain of cash that was seized by the investigating agencies during one such raid on one of their Ministers. Sinha was referring to Partha Chatterjee’s
“The Trinamool Congress starts saying that all these are political vendettas. The hill of cash was found during these raids. During that time they had said the same thing. After the raids, we will get to know about what materials were seized.”
“This drama is all because of Lok Sabha elections. Nothing will happen. The more they do such things the more number of seats will be won by Trinamool. They know that in India, only Trinamool can take on the BJP. So they are attacking us,” a TMC youth leader who has assembled with a few workers outside Madan Maitra’s residence said.