‘Slap me if I’ve done wrong’: Mamata urges HC not to cancel appointments

Mar 14, 2023 09:10 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee urged the Calcutta high court not to cancel appointments in the Bengal recruitment scam case citing that two people have died by suicide in the state after losing jobs

With the Calcutta high court cancelling appointments of more than 4,800 undeserving candidates in the multi-crore recruitment scam, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday urged the judiciary not to cancel jobs, citing that two people have died by suicide in the state (after losing jobs).

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (File Photo)

“I would urge (the Calcutta high court), not to sack people at the drop of a hat. This is not politics. You may not like me, my party or my government. You may curse me and hit me. I won’t mind. But please don’t malign the state and snatch the rights of youths and students. If I have done any wrong and you slap me, I won’t mind,” she said in Kolkata, adding that two persons have died by suicide (after losing jobs).

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Banerjee was addressing an event at the premises of a city court organised as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Aurobindo.

“I remember that during the Left regime, a judge, while hearing a case related to an appointment, had said that if anything wrong had happened, it should be rectified. He never ordered to cancel the appointment. And now every day appointments are being cancelled at the slightest pretext,” she said.

“I would suggest strong action against those who had done something wrong. I have no mercy for them. But the boys and girls should not be victimised. Their jobs should be legally returned. If they have done something wrong they should be given a chance. They may be allowed to appear for the exam again. If the court suggests something (for those who have lost jobs) we will abide by it,” she added.

The Calcutta high court has till date cancelled the appointments of 4,853 undeserving candidates who got jobs of teachers and non-teaching staff in various state-run schools between 2014 and 2021 using fraudulent means. The candidates had allegedly paid bribes to hike their scores and find a place in the merit list.

The list includes the name of Ankita Adhikari, daughter of former state minister Paresh Adhikari. The high court had even ordered her to return the salary which she had drawn as a teacher.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), probing into the recruitment scam on the Calcutta high court’s orders, had earlier told the court that there were more than 8,000 candidates who got jobs using fraudulent means. The Enforcement Directorate is running a parallel probe into the money laundering trail.

The TMC has come under severe attack after five of its leaders, including two legislators Partha Chatterjee and Manik Bhattacharya and youth wing leaders, have been arrested. The ED has told the court that the scam may run up to 350 crore.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) launched a scathing attack against Banerjee alleging that the chief minister is trying to shield the undeserving candidates as they had paid bribes to TMC leaders to secure the jobs.

“The chief minister knows very well that if these undeserving candidates, who paid bribes to TMC leaders to get jobs, spill the beans she may lose the elections. She feels bad for the undeserving candidates, but ignores the deserving candidates who have been protesting for two years,” Sukanta Majumdar, BJP state president told reporters.

“People are losing their jobs because of the corrupt practices of the TMC. She should step down after apologising with folded hands. No one wants to slap her or hit her,” Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPIM member of Parliament (MP) and a senior advocate representing the petitioners in the case, told reporters.

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