Corruption Playing Games in the ‘Culturally Advanced State’


After the change of left-front ruled government in West Bengal, the people of the State expected economic development at a rapid pace so that more employment would be generated, the purchasing power of the people would be enhanced, and there would be a 'Multiplier Effect’ in the economy.  It is pertinent to mention that the State suffered from the day of partition because, after partition in 1947, millions of refugees came from East Pakistan and also later on from Bangladesh, so accommodating millions of refugees was an issue in the State. While I was in service because of academic activities, from time to time, I visited across the state and interacted with many people, irrespective of caste, creed, and religion, from North Bengal to South Bengal. All, in unison, told me they deserved economic development. Some of the major problems I observed in those days were high unemployment, erosion in some river belts, and poverty in many areas of North Bengal, Bankura, United Medinipur, etc. During the left-front rule, industrial development suffered from frequent strikes, lock-outs, etc. I learned that a great communist leader’s son is now an established businessman outside India. Anyway, in recent years, the way corruption has been playing in the State is deplorable (in Bengali, it may be said corruptioner Khela hochhe meaning corruption is playing the game). From secondary sources, I am presenting a few facts. The first is from India Today, New Delhi/Kolkata, July 23, 2022. The former "West Bengal Minister Partha Chatterjee's close aide, Arpita Mukherjee, who had Rs 21 crore in cash at home, has been arrested. Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) concerning West Bengal's alleged teacher recruitment scam. The arrest comes just a day after Rs 20 crore was recovered from Arpita Mukherjee’s home". As per The Hindu, August 16, 2023, “Firdous Samim, the advocate who is largely credited to unearth the scam by bringing the recruitment irregularities before the Calcutta High Court, takes a few moments to recollect the number of FIRs filed by the Central investigation agencies.” At least eight FIRs have been filed at various stages of recruitment by the Central agencies. There have been irregularities in the recruitment of teachers at primary, secondary, and higher secondary levels and the recruitment of Group C and Group D employment in State-run schools,” Mr. Samim said. It may be mentioned here that as per India Today, January 20, 2023, “more than Rs 100 crore was allegedly raised by TMC (Trinamool Congress) leaders from job aspirants to employ them as teachers and staff at state-run schools across West Bengal between 2014 and 2021". The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Trinamool Congress's youth leader, Kuntal Ghosh, in connection with the teachers' recruitment scam who amassed huge amounts of money and made flats, etc.  Unbelievable corruption has been taking place in the State. Another scandal case is related to Anubrata Mondal. As per News 18, August 11, 2022, "Senior TMC leader Anubrata Mondal was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a cattle smuggling case."  Saigal Hossain, the bodyguard of Anubrata Mondal, was arrested by CBI. "According to CBI sources, the central agency received information about six flats, including three in Newtown (Kolkata), owned by Saigal. Besides, a large amount of cash and gold were recovered from his flats. There were inconsistencies in almost all his statements, and he failed to justify the source of his income and wealth. Saigal is a constable with the state police and has been posted as a bodyguard of Mondal since 2012" (The India Express, June 11, 2022). Another name in the cattle smuggling case is Enamul Haque. "The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested smuggler Enamul Haque in connection with the West Bengal cattle smuggling case”, (India Today, February 19, 2022).  It is noteworthy to mention that “Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested a former Border Security Force (BSF) commandant, Satish Kumar, in West Bengal cattle smuggling case, that took place at Indo-Bangladesh International Border. Satish Kumar allegedly received Rs 12.8 crore from accused Md Enamul Haque in the accounts of his wife and father-in-law. ED had initiated its money laundering investigation based on FIR registered by CBI in 2020 against Satish Kumar, Md. Enamul Haque, Md. Anarul SK, Md. Golam Mustafa, officials of BSF and Indian Customs for being part of cattle smuggling racket” (India Today, April 25, 2022).  

 Now presenting the case of another minister who was arrested recently for a ration scam (food-related) is Jyotipriya Mallick. "Mullick, who presently holds the Forest portfolio and is a former minister for food and supplies, was arrested by the ED in the early hours of October 27, 2023" (The Telegraph online, November 6, 2023). According to the India Express, November 5, 2023, the names of Mallick’s two aides, Montu Saha and Kalidas Saha, surfaced during the interrogation of the minister and Kolkata-based businessman Bakibur Rahman”. All these reveal that many people were involved with different scams and earned huge amounts of money, made assets, etc, which they could do because of unbelievable corruption.

 I presented only some cases out of many cases inter alia, which are coal scams, sand scams, etc. These are from the so-called culturally and industrially advanced state, but now seems the State is advanced in corruption games. I observed in different print and social media that some ruling party leaders of the State, during the course of the discussion, highlighted cases from ‘BIMARU’ States, but I suggest them please do not look at negative States that are at low levels of development; look at positive things i.e., the States which have been developing. 

Shankar Chatterjee