The Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths, probing the multi- crore teachers’ recruitment scam in West Bengal, have procured several clues from the statements of a brother of Trinamool Congress legislator and former President of West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) Manik Bhattacharya, which the central agency is using to make its case stronger against the latter.
ED sources said that recently their officers questioned that brother and his wife in connection with certain bank accounts allegedly used in diverting the scam proceeds and in face of questioning, both turned hostile towards Bhattacharya and alleged the latter of misleading them to get them dragged in the process.
Although Bhattacharya has two brothers, for the sake of further investigation, ED sleuths refrained from naming the one who was questioned along with his wife.
“Our officers first questioned the wife of that brother about six bank accounts in a public sector bank, where crores of rupees were deposited and several lakhs were withdrawn within a specific period in 2020, at a time when Covid-19 related protocols and lockdown were already in force. The lady was surprised and claimed that she was not aware of these bank accounts and probably these accounts were opened forging her signatures,” an ED official said.
At that point of time, her husband and that brother of Bhattacharya gave the central agency sleuths a probable clue of how the forgery was made. He said that his elder brother promised to take them abroad and also to arrange for their passports for that purpose a few years back and took copies of their PAN cards, Aadhaar cards and EPIC cards and for application purposes, also their signatures on a blank paper.
Sources said that the brother of the wife also informed that she used to have a joint account with her husband at another public sector bank in Jadavpur area in south Kolkata, the documents of which including the passbook were forcefully taken by Bhattacharya. She informed them that soon after that they closed down that account smelling some foul play.
On December 7, the ED has submitted a supplementary charge sheet at a special court of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Kolkata, where it named Bhattacharya, his wife Satarupa Bhattacharya and son Souvik Bhattacharya.
ED sources said that in the supplementary charge sheet, sleuths have referred to how Bhattacharya and his son collected money from the different private teachers training colleges in the state. It also mentions the details of the properties and assets in the names of Bhattacharya, his son and wife.