School jobs scam: Another ‘middleman’ held, sent to CBI custody

A special CBI court in Alipore on Saturday sent alleged middleman Prasanna Kumar Roy in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) till August 29 in connection with their probe into the school jobs scam, said central agency sources.

A close relative of former state Partha Chatterjee — already arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) — second middleman Roy was taken into custody by the CBI from New Town area in Kolkata on Friday, said sources.

According to CBI sources Roy’s name surfaced during the interrogation of another middleman Pradip Singh, who was arrested on Wednesday and was sent to CBI custody till September 1 by a special court on Thursday.

CBI investigation found that both middlemen Singh and Roy used to mediate between job seekers and employers and would demand huge money in return, said agency sources, adding that the CBI is probing who else was involved in the scam and whether Singh and Roy were acting at the behest of any influential person.

Once a house painter, Roy started his own painting business, and he currently owns a hotel in Dubai and several hotels across Bengal and other states, said sources.

CBI sources said Roy’s properties include luxury hotels, resorts and guest houses in Newtown, Digha, Sundarbans, Duars, Darjeeling, Puri (Odisha), Uttarakhand and Dubai; a tea business in North Bengal; numerous plots and farmhouses in New Town-Rajarhat region.

Sources said the CBI suspects that several businesses were set up to launder money illegally earned from the school jobs scam. They are also probing whether the money earned from the scam was used to purchase these properties, said sources.

On Thursday, the CBI raided Singh’s Salt Lake office for about three and a half hours.

Meanwhile, CBI has also issued a lookout notice for TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya in connection with the scam. However, Bhattacharya claimed, “I am in my house and have been cooperating with CBI from the very first day. I do not understand why they have issued the notice.”

The (ED) had arrested former education minister and senior Trinamool leader Partha Chatterjee in connection with the scam hours after raiding his Naktala house on July 22. Chatterjee’s associate Arpita Mukherjee was also arrested in this case after more than Rs 50 crore in cash and jewellery were seized from her flats.