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Cash-for-jobs racket hits CPM

After Netai killings, CPI(M) leaders in Lalgarh have been accused of running a Rs 20-lakh job racket. Their victims also include impoverished Marxists. Surbek Biswas reports.

india Updated: May 05, 2011 17:43 IST
Surbek Biswas

After Netai killings, CPI(M) leaders in Lalgarh have been accused of running a Rs 20-lakh job racket. Their victims also include impoverished Marxists.

According to the victims, jobs of para-teachers in Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra and Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK) and helpers in Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) were promised against money.

HT met two of the victims of the racket at the house of a CPI(M) leader in Lalgarh. While Tapasi Maity was livid, Jogesh Chalak was depressed. One of them said, “They promised us a job two years ago and we paid money. The jobs never materialised and we have informed the party.”

Their bewilderment was complete because the party was preying on poor Marxists, as

if it is a sin to be poor in Left Front Bengal. In the dock are Binpur zonal secretary committee member Sheikh Khaliluddin and former local committee secretary in Lalgarh Tapan Dey.

Both are absconding along with four other leaders after CBI charged them in the Netai killings. Jharna Roy of Lalgarh and Haripada Giri of Durlavpore said, “We paid around Rs 60,000 and Dey promised us jobs.”

The amount of money paid varied between Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000. More than 100 fell victim to the greedy CPI(M) leaders. The racket started in 2009 and continued till 2011 before the leaders went underground to avoid arrest.

It seems as if the rectification campaign spared Lalgarh though the party is certainly red faced. CPI(M) party workers asking for votes are greeted with scepticism.

“Before asking for votes give us back our money,” say locals. Some give reasons like, “We are going through tough times. Please give back our money.” None of the victims has lodged a complaint with the police, as they are CPI(M) supporters.

Tarun Banerjee, CPI(M) party member said, “Around 100 persons were duped by our party. Some of our leaders promised jobs for cash. We are trying to rectify the situation. The only consolation is that the victims have not lodged any complaint, as they are our supporters. But we may face an erosion in our vote bank.”

According to sources, Khaliluddin took Rs 20,000 from Bharat Dandapat, the party’s local committee member from Belatikri. Dandapat was promised a job of para-teacher, which went to somebody else, who outbid the Marxist by giving Khaliluddin Rs 80,000.

Displaying political maturity, the Trinamool is keeping quiet. Trinamool Congress leader Bonbehari Roy said, “If we raise the issue, the life of victims will be at stake.”