“It is clear that the municipal recruitment and teachers’ recruitment scams are linked since the same person had prepared the OMR sheets,” remarked a bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, while dismissing the matter.
The bench orally observed that ex facie a link appears between the municipalities’ recruitment case with the teacher recruitment case in state-run schools.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state government, contended that the high court had erred in handing over the investigation to the central probe agency as there was no material to establish that the state agencies cannot probe the alleged scam.
He reiterated that such bypassing of the state machinery would set a wrong precedent for other states.
On the other hand, Additional Solicitor General of India, S.V. Raju, appearing for the ED, argued that the two scams were interrelated and the same company was appointed to print OMR sheets for both exams. He added that witnesses have revealed “common links”.
The process of beginning the probe into the alleged municipalities scam had faced a number of initial legal obstacles. After the Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay allowed the central agencies to launch a probe into the matter, the state government had challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
But the top court had referred the matter back to the Calcutta High Court.
The state government then made a fresh appeal in the Calcutta High Court’s bench of Justice Amrita Sinha, seeking quashing of the previous order for central agency probe.
However, Justice Sinha’s bench upheld the order passed by the bench of Justice Gangopadhyay.
Subsequently, a division bench of the high court also refused to put an interim stay on the previous order of the high court allowing the CBI to investigate the multi-crore recruitment case in different municipalities, thus prompting filing of the present special leave petition in the Supreme Court.
The ED, which had initially brought the municipalities’ recruitment scam to surface while conducting raid and search operations in connection with the school recruitment case, has made a rough estimate that the scam amount involved in this case will be ranging to the tune of around Rs 200 crore.
Thereafter, the CBI too had launched its own probe into the matter by filing an FIR. As per the initial findings made by the CBI, jobs for posts like clerks, ambulance drivers and cleaners were sold against payments ranging from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.