‘Acting like political party:’ HC judge's comments on Abhishek Banerjee draw TMC flak
The judge had observed that the CBI should interrogate Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
KOLKATA: In an unprecedented row between West Bengal’s ruling party and the judiciary, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday slammed Calcutta High Court Justice Abhijit Ganguly after he made an observation in an open court that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI should interrogate Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, and Kunal Ghosh.
The probe would be in connection with the ongoing probe into alleged irregularities in recruitment in schools, which has become an issue of embarrassment for the TMC.
Ganguly’s observation came a day after jailed TMC youth leader Kuntal Ghosh wrote a letter alleging that pressure was being put on him by the ED to name Abhishek, who is also the TMC’s national general secretary, in connection with the alleged scam.
Branding Ganguly as a cadre of a political party, Kunal Ghosh said that the judge overstepped his limits by targeting Abhishek with a political motive.
"He made the statement overstepping his limits. He is misusing the power of his chair. He is acting to strengthen the CPI(M) and the BJP in Bengal," said Ghosh.
Hitting out at the judge, Ghosh said, "How can you comment on what the ED and CBI should do? Are you in charge of the investigation? You are influencing the investigation by making such comments."
While asking about the progress of the probe into the alleged recruitment scam, Justice Ganguly said, "The investigating agency has only reached up to the waist of the corruption. It should reach the heart and brain of the alleged malpractice. Why is the CBI wasting time? Abhishek Banerjee should be interrogated."
"From today no police station will lodge any FIR against any complaint made to it in respect of any officer of CBI and ED who are investigating the educational recruitment scam both of West Bengal Central School Service Commission and the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, without the leave of this court," the court also directed.
After the Calcutta High Court ordered central agencies to probe into the alleged recruitment scam, the ED arrested former education minister and Mamata’s lieutenant Partha Chatterjee after questioning him for over 20 hours in July last year.
During the course of the investigation, the ED arrested a number of TMC functionaries and senior officials of the School Service Commission (SSC), the wing of the education department which supervised the recruitment process, which resulted in massive embarrassment for the TMC.
Responding to Kunal’s letter, Justice Ganguly also passed an order saying West Bengal police would not be allowed to lodge an FIR against any officers of the ED and CBI without the court’s approval.
Reacting to Ghosh's statement, BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh said the outburst of the TMC is quite natural as "the cat is now out of the bag". "Several TMC leaders are being arrested in corruption cases. And, whoever speaks out against the corruption of TMC is wrong, be it the governor or the judiciary. This proves they have no respect for the judiciary," Ghosh said.