Supreme Court Issues Notice On TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's Plea Against Calcutta HC Allowing CBI-ED Probe Against Him In Teacher Recruitment Scam
26 May 2023 6:33 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a special leave petition filed by Trinamool Congress leader leader and MP Abhishek Banerjee against Calcutta High Court's order dismissing his plea to recall an order passed by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay which allowed the CBI and ED to interrogate him in the West Bengal School Job Scam case. The Court also stayed the direction of the Calcutta High Court which imposed costs of Rs 25 lakhs on him for filing the recall application.
The matter was listed before a vacation bench comprising Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice PS Narasimha.
Senior Advocate Dr.Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Banerjee, submitted that the Supreme Court had directed to reassign the case from the bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay to another bench, after taking exception to a television interview given by Justice Gangopadhyay on the sub-judice case. The matter was later assigned to a bench of Justice Amrita Sinha. Singhvi argued that the new bench was supposed to examine the matter afresh de novo, which was not done. He added that Banerjee has nothing to do with the batch of cases relating to the recruitment scam.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, said that the order only gave liberty to the CBI and ED to interrogate him. "The order only said that investigate if you want. Independently of that order, ED has power of investigation. That power is unfettered, it cannot be usurped", he said.
The bench said that it will issue notice on the plea and will post it after vacations.
The Calcutta High Court in a strongly worded order had dismissed Banerjee's plea. It said Banerjee being in the top rung of the ruling political party ought not to shy away from the investigation process. However, he was trying tooth and nail to oppose an investigation in the West Bengal School Job Scam case. The bench of Justice Amrita Sinha observed that the proper approach for him should be to put himself to the test and come out clean instead of avoiding or running away from the entire process. The State machinery, especially the police, also appears to back the accused, the Court had osberved.
Justice Gangopadhyay had asked the ED and CBI to question Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh while hearing a petition relating to alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools. The judge had taken into account a letter written by expelled Trinamool leader Kuntal Ghosh, wherein he had alleged that he was being pressurised to implicate Banerjee in the recruitment Scam. Banerjee also, in one of his public speeches, claimed that several incarcerated individuals were being forced to implicate him in the case. The April 13 order was stayed briefly by the Supreme Court on April 17, the Top Court, on April 28, directed the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC to reassign the matter concerning the Primary Teachers' Recruitment Scam in West Bengal to another judge.
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