Rs 20 cr offline admission fees went to WBBPE office: Prime witness

Tapas Mondal, a prime witness in the multi-crore teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal, calimed on Thursday that Rs 20.70 crore was collected for offline registration by different private teacher training colleges in the state which was sent to the office of West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE) when Trinamool Congress legislator Manik Bhattacharya was the president of the board.

Mondal, the president of All Bengal Teachers’ Training Achievers’ Association (ABTTAA), an umbrella organisation of such private training colleges and a close associate of Bhattacharya, came to the office of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the second consecutive day on Thursday, where he made the revealation while interacting with the waiting mediapersons.

He said that the candidates failing the deadline for online registration opted for offline registration against a fee of Rs 5,000 each, including Rs 4,700 as offline registration fee and Rs 300 as late fee. The entire amount was sent to the WBBPE office, Mondal claimed.

When reminded that on Wednesday he had claimed that the money went to Bhattacharya, Mondal said, “It is the same thing since Manik Babu was the president of the board then.”

Asked if the system of offline registration was illegal, Mondal said that this system was introduced following the approval of WBBPE with Bhattacharya as its president.

“How can I say that this offline registration system was illegal? It was done following the approval of the board. And Manik Babu was the president of the board then,” Mondal claimed.

To recall, on October 24, ED’s counsel Phiroze Edulji had informed a lower court that following preliminary investigation, the central agency has traced properties worth Rs 10 crore owned by Bhattacharya and his family members.

Edulji had informed that ED sleuths have traced Rs 3 crore from a bank account held jointly by Bhattacharya’s wife, Satarupa Bhattacharya, and a deceased person named Mrityunjoy Chakraborty.

The ED’s counsel also informed the court that a compact disc was recovered from the residence of Bhattacharya which contained the names of 4,000 individuals.

On cross-checking with WBBPE authorities, the central agency officials confirmed that 2,500 out of that 4,000 have secured jobs as primary teachers.

20221103-235004

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