As per preliminary estimates by a joint review team, the total number of 12,964 illegal teachers were hired as a result of the multi-million dollar West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities scam.
A joint team of the WBSSC, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE), and the counsels for the petitioners in the Calcutta High Court is reviewing the illegal recruitments.
The joint review is being conducted in response to an order issued on September 21 by the Calcutta High Court’s single judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directing the counsels for both WBSSC and the petitioners in the matter to review the recruitment and waiting lists on an emergency basis and submit a report by September 28.
Justice Gangopadhyay stated that those who obtained teaching jobs in state-run schools illegally and without due process should be fired and replaced with qualified candidates on the waiting list.
“Accordingly, the process of identifying the illegal recruitments done against any consideration is almost complete. Next, the joint review team will review the waiting list and identify the replacements from that list,” confirmed a WBSSC official.
On September 21, Justice Gangopadhyay also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team investigating the scam to submit a separate report on the number of ineligible candidates who got teachers’ appointments illegally. “If necessary, the CBI team might also consult the WBSSC officials while preparing their report,” Justice Gangopadhyay observed.
He then stated that the two separate reports, the first from the joint review team and the second from the CBI, would be tallied, after which those receiving illegal appointments would be terminated and replaced by those eligible candidates on the waiting list.
Political observers believe that once the process of replacing ineligible candidates with eligible candidates from the waiting list is completed, the plight of several candidates who have been protesting on the streets of Kolkata for around 550 days will be over. However, a new source of concern may emerge for the state government and the ruling Trinamool Congress.
So far, investigations into the scam by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) have revealed that those ineligible candidates obtained teaching jobs illegally by paying large sums of money to various influential persons involved, and once their services are terminated, a new uproar may erupt as those terminated demand the return of their money.