WB teacher scam: SC refuses to halt probe against TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee 

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha allowed Banerjee to avail available remedies under the law but refused to interfere with the May 18 order of the Calcutta High Court.

Published: 10th July 2023 02:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2023 02:51 PM   |  A+A-

Abhishek Banerjee

Senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the CBI and Enforcement Directorate probe against TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee in the alleged West Bengal teacher recruitment scam, saying it cannot stultify the investigation in the case.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha allowed Banerjee to avail available remedies under the law but refused to interfere with the May 18 order of the Calcutta High Court.

"We are not going to interfere with the impugned order as this would stultify the investigation. Petitioner can avail the available remedies under the law," the bench said.

On May 26, the top court stayed the imposition of Rs 25 lakh cost on Banerjee by the high court which had dismissed his plea for recall of its previous order that CBI and ED could interrogate him in the West Bengal school jobs scam cases.

The top court had however not stayed the part of the high court order which had said the central probe agencies could quiz the Trinamool Congress general secretary in connection with these cases.

Abhishek Banerjee is the nephew of TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Calcutta High Court had dismissed a petition filed by Banerjee, a Lok Sabha MP, seeking recall of its previous order which said probe agencies such as the CBI and ED could interrogate him in the case related to the scam.

On April 28, the apex court had asked the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to reassign the West Bengal school jobs scam case to another judge, days after voicing displeasure over Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay's interview to a TV news channel where he spoke about the raging controversy.

Banerjee, who was on May 20 questioned for over nine hours by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has sought the apex court's direction that no coercive steps be taken against him by the probe agency.

The TMC leader's name cropped up in a complaint filed by Kuntal Ghosh, a local businessman and an accused in the school jobs scam cases, where he alleged that central investigating agencies were pressuring him to name Banerjee in the case.

The agency's summons to Banerjee had come within 24 hours of the Calcutta High Court dismissing a petition filed by him seeking recall of a previous court order which said probe agencies such as the CBI and ED could interrogate him in the teacher recruitment scam case.

Banerjee had alleged that while TMC leaders who were unwilling to bend were being harassed, BJP leaders who had been involved in various cases were allowed to go scot-free.

The two-time MP from Diamond Harbour was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) twice in the coal pilferage case in the agency's office in the national capital in 2021 and also in Kolkata in 2022.

While the CBI is probing the criminal aspect of the school jobs scam cases, the ED is looking into the money trail involved in the alleged irregularities in teacher recruitment in West Bengal.

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