Yet another Trinamool neta, this time an MLA, is facing arrest for his involvement in the cash-for-jobs scam in the state school education department.
Trinamool MLA from Burdwan, Jiban Krishna Saha, is being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing the scam. The interrogation of Saha started Friday (14 April) at his residence at Andi village in Murshidabad district.
The CBI sleuths have, so far, recovered six bags packed with photocopies of admit cards and marksheets of Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) candidates from bushes ringing the MLA's residence.
When CBI investigators reached his house, Saha hurled two cellphones and a pen drive into a pond adjacent to his residence. The pond is being drained by water pumps to recover the devices.
The CBI has traced land holdings in Bolpur, Santiniketan and Sainthia (in Birbhum district) as well as an oil mill belonging to Saha, who is a school teacher.
Documents on recruitment of primary teachers have also been seized from the residence of Saha's in-laws at Piyarpur in Murshidabad's Raghunathganj.
Simultaneously, the CBI is also searching the house of former Trinamool Nalhati II block president Bibhas Adhikary at Krishnapur village in Birbhum's Nalhati.
Another CBI team went to Adhikary's apartment at Baithakkhana Bazar in Kolkata's Sealdah. The team sealed the apartment after they could not find the keys to it.
Adhikary had gifted the flat to a religious body immediately after former education minister and close Mamata aide Partha Chatterje's arrest.
Adhikari is close to Chatterjee and also former chairman of West Bengal Board For Primary Education, Manik Bhattacharya. Bhattacharya, who had been arrested for his involvement in the scam in October last year, is also a Trinamool MLA.
Adhikary is believed to have been one of the main 'collectors' of bribes from job aspirants.
Adhikary, Saha and other Trinamool leaders obviously have a lot to hide. One can be certain that the entire scam through which hundreds of crores of Rupees was collected from young men and women in return for jobs in government schools in the state, could not have happened without the knowledge and even complicity of the top leadership of the party.
It is well known to all in Bengal that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee keeps close tabs on everything that happens in the state. It is often said that not even a leaf can sway to the wind in Bengal without her knowledge and explicit concurrence.
Mamata Banerjee's trusted aides have, on quite a few occasions, been caught on camera asking party functionaries to deposit a substantial part of their ill-gotten wealth to the party coffers.
It is, this, widely believed that at least a good part of the proceeds of scams, including the cash-for-jobs scam, found their way to the party's coffers. And it is definitely not improbable that the top party leadership also benefited from the scams.
But none of the many Trinamool netas and functionaries arrested for their involvement in the cash-for-jobs scam have named the party's top leadership.
The Trinamool top leadership would have, given the resources and contacts at its command, covered it's tracks very well. Finding out the money trail to the top will be a near impossible task for CBI and ED sleuths, because all evidence would have been well concealed by now.
Only if the arrested Trinamool leaders and functionaries come clean and make honest confessions about how they reportedly routed funds to the top leadership and/or party coffers, can the major beneficiaries of the scams be prosecuted.
But the arrested Trinamool leaders will not make any such confession as long as they remain incarcerated in Bengal.
That's because they are remanded to judicial custody after their grillings by central agencies. That means they are lodged in prisons which are administered by the state government.
These jailed Trinamool netas are supervised by prison officials who serve the state government and, by extension, Mamata Banerjee.
It is alleged that senior Trinamool leaders and party managers remain in touch with them, even when they are in judicial custody, to ensure that they keep their lips sealed and desist from saying anything to the central probe agencies that can even obliquely implicate the party machinery or the top leadership.
While being taken out of prison for routine court appearances, the undertrials are escorted by the Bengal Police, a force that has gained notoriety for functioning as an adjunct to the ruling party and carrying out it's diktats.
Hence, the incarcerated Trinamool leaders and functionaries are also susceptible to likely pressure from state cops to remain mum.
This is why the central agencies have not been able to uncover the involvement of the Trinamool's top leadership in the many scams that have brought infamy to Bengal.
And that is why it is absolutely necessary to take the arrested Trinamool leaders and functionaries out of Bengal for their interrogation.
Once they are out of Bengal, they will be beyond the pernicious influence of the state machinery and will not feel that they are 'protected' by the Bengal police and prison officials.
These arrested leaders will also be willing to turn approvers and name the top Trinamool leadership as the major beneficiaries of the scams.
That is why, in the interests of justice and in order to take the ongoing probes into the scams to their logical conclusion, it is necessary to take the arrested Trinamool netas out of Bengal for their interrogation and incarceration.
That is the only way that the truth can come out.
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