Municipal recruitment scam: ED raid at Bengal food minister Rathin Ghosh’s residence

Debjit Mukherjee, North 24 Parganas: On Thursday, the ED conducted raid and search operations at the residence of West Bengal Food & Supplies Minister Rathin Ghosh in connection with the multi-crore cash for municipalities’ recruitment scam.

Sources said that Ghosh’s name came up in the case after incriminating documents procured by the ED showed his involvement when he was the chairman of Madhyamgram Municipality in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

It is learnt that Ghosh’s name had surfaced following incriminating documents seized by the ED sleuths from ABS Infozone, the agency outsourced by different municipalities in the state for conducting the recruitment examination process there, which indicated towards massive irregularities in the recruitment process in Madhyamgram Municipality between 2014 and 2018.

ABS Infozone is owned by private promoter Ayan Sil, who is already in judicial custody because of his alleged involvement in the multi-crore cash-for-school-job case in West Bengal. ED officers for the first time received clues about the multi-crore urban civic bodies’ recruitment case, while conducting raid and search operations at Sil’s residence in March this year in connection with the school-job-scam case.

Besides the residence of Ghosh, ED sleuths have also conducting raids at the residence of Kamarhati Municipality chairman Gopal Saha, also in North 24 Parganas district since Thursday morning.

Simultaneous raid and search operations by ED sleuths in at least 10 separate locations are taking place since Thursday morning, sources said.

ED officials, during their course of investigation in the multi-crore municipalities’ recruitment case in West Bengal, has drawn out a rough estimate that around 1,500 individuals were recruited illegally between 2014 and 2018 against some financial considerations in different urban civic bodies in the state.

As per the central agency estimates, these 1,500 illegal recruitments were made in 15 municipalities scattered over districts like North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Nadia, and Purulia.