The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launched a series of raids on Wednesday, targeting 16 municipal corporations in West Bengal, as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged recruitment scam. This move has generated strong reactions, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre of attempting to divert attention from the recent train accident in Odisha.
A team consisting of approximately 100 CBI officials, accompanied by central paramilitary forces, conducted searches and seized numerous documents across the Nadia, Hooghly, and North 24 Parganas districts, as well as the Salt Lake municipality on the outskirts of Kolkata. Additionally, the office of the state municipal affairs department was also subject to search.
An anonymous CBI officer revealed that the investigation focuses on suspected irregularities in the recruitment of various positions within different municipalities in recent years. The CBI’s involvement in this matter was initiated by a directive from the Calcutta High Court, following an order from a single bench on April 21. The court upheld the need for a federal agency to investigate the alleged scam. Banerjee condemned the raids, accusing the Centre of suppressing information related to the train accident in Balasore district, Odisha, which has resulted in the loss of 288 lives and left over 1,100 people injured. The CBI is also conducting an investigation into the train tragedy.
During a government program in Kolkata, where compensation was being distributed to the families of the train accident victims, Banerjee voiced her concerns. She criticized the decision to send the CBI to the civic bodies, accusing the Centre of attempting to divert attention from the railway disaster. Banerjee demanded answers regarding the accident and the CBI’s role in the investigation. Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim questioned the necessity of CBI’s presence at the civic bodies and accused the issue of being politicized.
Hakim suggested that a committee comprising district magistrates and civic officials could have easily handled the local recruitments. He questioned why the CBI had chosen to visit the civic bodies directly, arguing that the agency could have simply requested the required documents. The minister dismissed the situation as mere political tactics. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party criticized Hakim for feigning ignorance and defending himself in advance.
CBI Raids Municipal Corporations in West Bengal Amid Alleged Recruitment Scam Investigation
The decision to initiate a CBI investigation into the alleged recruitment scam in civic bodies was made on April 21, following a report submitted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED, alongside the CBI, is currently investigating irregularities in recruitment by the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC). The report indicated that documents recovered from the residence of a suspect named Ayan Sil suggested the existence of similar corruption in numerous civic bodies. Sil was associated with a recruitment agency that was contracted by several civic bodies. On Wednesday, his residence and offices were also subject to CBI raids.
As the investigation unfolds, the alleged recruitment scam in West Bengal’s civic bodies continues to be a matter of significant concern and scrutiny. The actions taken by the CBI have sparked a political controversy, with accusations of diversion and politicization being exchanged between different parties. The outcome of the investigation will determine the course of justice and shed light on the extent of any irregularities in the recruitment processes within these civic bodies.
As the investigation into the alleged recruitment scam in West Bengal’s civic bodies progresses, the actions taken by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) continue to be a subject of intense scrutiny and political controversy. The raids conducted on 16 municipal corporations have triggered a sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who accuses the BJP-led Centre of attempting to divert attention from the recent train accident in Odisha. Meanwhile, CBI officials, accompanied by central paramilitary forces, carried out extensive searches and seized numerous documents across several districts and municipalities.
CBI Raids West Bengal Municipal Corporations in Alleged Recruitment Scam, Sparks Political Controversy Amid Train Accident Diversion Accusations
The CBI’s involvement in the case stems from a directive issued by the Calcutta High Court, following an order from a single bench on April 21. The court upheld the need for a federal agency to investigate the alleged recruitment scam, which centers around suspected irregularities in the hiring process within various municipalities over the past few years. This move comes after the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in conjunction with the CBI, submitted a report highlighting potential corruption in multiple civic bodies. The report was based on documents recovered from the home of Ayan Sil, a suspect associated with a recruitment agency that had been contracted by several civic bodies.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vehemently criticized the CBI raids, accusing the Centre of attempting to suppress information related to the train accident in Balasore district, Odisha. She emphasized the need for accountability and demanded answers regarding the accident, the number of casualties, and the role of the CBI in the investigation. Banerjee’s remarks were made during a government program in Kolkata where compensation was being distributed to the families affected by the train accident.