Kolkata: Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) first charge sheet on the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam, filed at a court in Kolkata on Friday, has the officials concerned with a minor technical error.
According to CBI sources, six of the 16 people named in the charge sheet, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, were part of the state government machinery at the time of their arrests. According to Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, including the name of any state government functionary requires the approval of the state government concerned.
As per a CBI official, they submitted a formal application to the state government almost a fortnight ago, and despite repeated reminders, formal consent has yet to be received from the state government.
If the court questions this particular point, the agency’s counsel will highlight the state government’s reluctance to provide formal consent despite repeated reminders from the agency, stated a source within the CBI. The goal is to demonstrate to the court that there was no lapse on the part of the central agency in following up with the state government.
The court’s take
According to Jyoti Prakash Khan, counsel for the Calcutta High Court, once the CBI counsel refers the matter to the court, the judge will refer the matter to the state government, asking the latter to give consent within a reasonable time frame or explain to the court why it is unwilling to give consent regarding the inclusion of names in the charge-sheet.
“If the state government is unable to give a satisfactory explanation on the reasons for its unwillingness to give the formal consent, then the court might again set a deadline for the consent within a reasonable point of time beyond which it will be deemed that the consent has been given. But this process will not tantamount to declaring the charge sheet as invalid,” Khan explained.
In the charge sheet filed on Friday, CBI has identified Partha Chatterjee as the mastermind in the entire recruitment irregularities scam.