25 Sep 2023 12:56 PM GMT
The Calcutta High Court today expressed serious doubts over the investigation being conducted by the CBI and ED into the multi-tier Cash-for-jobs scam, in which various high-level functionaries of the WB government are accused. Justice Amrita Sinha castigated the Assistant Director (ED) for filing incomplete details about the assets held by Abhishek Banerjee, an accused in the case, and...
The Calcutta High Court today expressed serious doubts over the investigation being conducted by the CBI and ED into the multi-tier Cash-for-jobs scam, in which various high-level functionaries of the WB government are accused.
Justice Amrita Sinha castigated the Assistant Director (ED) for filing incomplete details about the assets held by Abhishek Banerjee, an accused in the case, and directors of 'Leaps & Bounds', a company linked to Banerjee allegedly used to siphon off the money.
“You had said the company leaps and bounds has been engaged in dubious transactions. What did you have to arrive at that finding? You say land was owned by the company…where are the details of the land? You have not mentioned anything else. You are (CBI and ED) the best investigative agencies in the country…with the best minds. Why did the court need to pass an order calling for the list of assets? It is your duty. The court is supervising it… we cannot tell you how to investigate because that is your expertise.”
It was submitted by the ED that they were in the process of reviewing the assets of the company's directors and CEO Abhishek Banerjee.
However, Court was further irked by the fact that in the list of assets of the TMC MP, only 3 life insurance policies had been mentioned, and similarly many other declarations were incomplete or prima facie “confusing.”
“The list of assets of Abhishek Banerjee…he says he has only 3 insurance policies till date and nothing else? Is that so! What does “till date” mean? He’s an MP, he doesn’t have a bank account? Where is he receiving his salary?” A Cycle is also there in the list of assets…is it a tricycle…must be. Had it been a motorcycle the number would’ve been there. Is it a Harley Davidson? This court is trying to point out that you are not proceeding in right earnest. This court doesn’t know why. I fail to understand whether you are withholding information from the court or not.
The Court had also summoned SIT head, from the CBI- Ashwin Shenvi, and expressed its anguish over the sluggish pace of the investigation as well as the lack of details which were forthcoming regarding the cogs of the recruitment scam from the investigative agencies.
During the hearing the Court had mentioned the residential address of the TMC MP and required from the ED official whether the property belonged to the functionaries of Leaps & Bounds in which Banerjee was a CEO.
“(Local address) is this a property belonging to anyone at Leaps & Bounds? You have not mentioned this in the list of assets, but I am requiring if you know of this property? They way in which this investigation is proceeding has shocked the conscience of the Court, prompting me to list the matter even after Court hours are over” the Court remarked.
Court asked the ED assistant director whether he was facing any impediments in conducting the investigation, to which the official responded that he was facing a lack of investigating officers, and would be requiring those with expertise in financial transactions.
In recording these submissions, the Court directed DSG Dhiraj Trivedi to obtain instructions from the Director of the ED regarding appointment of more investigating officers and passed further directions for a detailed list of all assets owned by all the Directors and Employees of Leaps and Bounds.
Further, a detailed list of assets owned by and bank accounts operated by TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee is also summoned, along with the financial records of a company owned by his mother, as well as a report from the ED regarding their conduct of the investigation.
Matter has been listed for further orders on 29th September.
Case: Soumen Nandy & Ors v State of WB & Ors
Case No: WPA 9979/2022