Kolkata (The Hawk): On Thursday, Tapas Mondal, a key witness in the multi-billion dollar teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal, claimed that the state's private teacher training colleges had received Rs 20.70 crore for offline registration and sent it to the West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE) office when Trinamool Congress lawmaker Manik Bhattacharya was the board's president.
Mondal, a close associate of Bhattacharya and the president of the All Bengal Teachers' Training Achievers' Association (ABTTAA), a group that represents these for-profit training institutions, visited the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office on Thursday for the second day in a row and shared the information with the media that was awaiting him.
He claimed that candidates who missed the deadline for online registration chose to register offline in exchange for a price of Rs 5,000 per candidate, which included Rs 4,700 for offline registration and Rs 300 for late registration. According to Mondal, the WBBPE office received the entire sum.
Mondal responded, "It is the same thing since Manik Babu was the head of the board then," when reminded that on Wednesday he had claimed that the funds had gone to Bhattacharya.
When asked if the offline registration method was unlawful, Mondal responded that it had been put in place with the blessing of the WBBPE, whose president was Bhattacharya.
"How am I able to claim that the offline registration process was unlawful? Following the board's permission, it was carried out. Additionally, Manik Babu presided over the board at the time "Mondal asserted.
Recall that on October 24, ED's attorney Phiroze Edulji had told a lower court that the federal agency had located properties worth Rs 10 crore that belonged to Bhattacharya and his family after conducting a preliminary probe.
A joint bank account owned by Bhattacharya's wife, Satarupa Bhattacharya, and a deceased individual by the name of Mrityunjoy Chakraborty had Rs 3 crore, according to Edulji.
Additionally, the ED's attorney told the court that a CD-ROM containing the identities of 4,000 people was found in Bhattacharya's home.
The central agency officials acknowledged that 2,500 out of the 4,000 have acquired jobs as primary teachers after cross-checking with WBBPE authorities.
(Inputs from Agencies)