Following her arrest last week, several current and former employees working with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) have approached the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to assist in the case and give statements against Chhabi Bardhan, the former personal assistant to the IITM director, who is accused of running a recruitment scam and committing other irregularities.
Many of them were present during the hearing in the special court where Bardhan was produced on Thursday, a day after her arrest. She has been remanded in CBI custody till August 20.
Bardhan and two others have been accused of illegal practices between 2010 and 2014. CBI claimed it found Rs 1.6 crore in her and her husband’s bank account.
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“I met investigation officer K Babu who asked me if we would give our statement and were ready to be witnesses. I agreed and will meet him at his office soon and submit my statement,” said a 58-year-old employee.
A CBI official said several IITM employees approached them to testify against Bardhan. “We are taking statements of such people and will use some of them depending on importance of the information,” said the official.
According sources in the IITM, Bardhan antagonised many employees when she used to ‘’practically call the shots’’ although she was only a personal assistant to the director and was later promoted as an LACD (Looking After Current Duties) manager.
“She controlled everything in the institute and often acted beyond the power of the director. The CBI submission about spying on a prospective employee through a private detective proved this,” said the IITM employee.
While listing grounds for police remand of Bardhan, CBI submitted before special judge D M Deshmukh that Bardhan employed a private detective to collate private information about him and paid the detective Rs 30,000,
although no rule authorises such verification.