'How Did He Know?' Mamata Banerjee Targets Ex Aide After Court Setback

The appointment of 25,753 school staff have now been declared null and void and they have been asked to return the salary they have received so far with interest.

'How Did He Know?' Mamata Banerjee Targets Ex Aide After Court Setback

The BJP has taken a dig at Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek after the high court order


Hours after the West Bengal government suffered a big setback in Calcutta High Court in connection with alleged irregularities in teachers' recruitment, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that BJP leaders are "influencing judiciary and judgments". The big charge came after the court declared as null and void the 2016 recruitment of about 25,000 school staff by the Trinamool Congress government.

The Opposition BJP has welcomed the high court's order. "The deserving candidates are smiling, now it's time for nephew and aunt to go," Bengal BJP said in a post on X, taking a swipe at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and nephew and senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee.

Ms Banerjee asked the sacked school staff not to worry. "We are with you, we will fight. 26,000 teachers means 1.5 lakh families. They have worked for eight years. How will they return salaries in four weeks?" The West Bengal school service commission has already said they will challenge the high court ruling in the Supreme Court. 

In a scathing attack on BJP's Suvendu Adhikari, once her trusted lieutenant, she said, "He predicted a  bomb. What is the bomb? Snatching the jobs of 26,000 people and pushing them towards death. How did they know what the court will rule if they did not write the judgment?"

Ms Banerjee was referring to Mr Adhikari's prediction last week of a political "explosion". "Wait for Monday. A huge explosion will shatter Pisi-Bhaipo's party. They will not be able to recover," the Leader of the Opposition in Bengal Assemblly told party workers Saturday.

Responding to reporters' queries on his remark, Mr Adhikari had clarified that he was referring to a political upheaval and insisted that the Trinamool was in a precarious position.

A division bench of Justice Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi today trashed appointments made after State Level Selection Test-2016 to fill up teachers' posts in Bengal's government-sponsored and aided schools. The court asked the CBI to investigate the appointment process and submit a report in three months. The West Bengal School Service Commission, which recruits staff for state-run schools, has been asked to initiate a fresh appointment process.

A total of 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the 2016 recruitment exam for 24,640 posts. A total of 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies. These appointments have now been declared null and void and the teachers have been asked to return the salary they have received so far with interest.

Responding to the high court verdict, Trinamool's Kunal Ghosh earlier said that while wrongdoers should be punished, the deserving candidates should not be penalised. "The Mamata Banerjee government has worked sincerely for creating jobs. An attempt to address some irregularities must not push deserving candidates into uncertainty. They need jobs," he said in a post on X.

Hundreds of school job aspirants, who had protested against alleged irregularities in teachers' recruitment, had gathered outside the court. Many of them broke into tears. "We had been waiting for this day. After years of struggle on the streets, justice has finally been delivered," one of them told news agency PTI.

Advocate Bikram Banerjee, counsel for one of the petitioners, told news agency ANI, "Particularly, the tender process was given to a blacklisted company, namely NYSA, and that process is illegal. The number of illegal appointees can not be detected, in view of which the entire selection process has been cancelled. The beneficiaries of this illegal process must refund their salaries. The district collectors of all districts in West Bengal have been directed to start the recovery process within four weeks. A fresh selection process must be started. A fresh tender must be publicly advertised."

"During the process, a super-numerical post was created by the state of West Bengal. Given the illegal appointees, the state of Bengal tried to accommodate them, but this was purely illegal. The Division Bench has directed to investigate and find out who created the super-numerical post. If necessary, the influential person will be taken into custody by CBI," he added.

Hearing in the matter ended on March 20 and the court had reserved its judgment.

The writ petitions challenging the appointments had been filed by candidates who appeared for the recruitment exam, but did not get jobs. A single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, who has now quit judiciary and joined the BJP, had ordered a CBI investigation into the alleged irregularities.

The matter had also reached the Supreme Court, which had asked the high court to constitute a division bench to hear petitions related to the recruitment.

The CBI, meanwhile, is investigating the matter. It has arrested former education minister and Trinamool heavyweight Partha Chatterjee, and several officials of the school service commission.