The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay a Calcutta High Court order allowing central agencies to question Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee in an alleged scam related to teachers recruitment, Bar and Bench reported.
A vacation bench of Justices JK Maheshwari and PS Narasimha, however, stayed costs of Rs 25 lakh imposed on Banerjee by the High Court. The Supreme Court will hear the case next on July 10.
On April 13, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the High Court had directed the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to question Banerjee in the case. The Trinamool Congress MP had then moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay, saying that the judge had expressed his dislike for him in an interview with ABP Ananda news channel.
On April 17, the Supreme Court stayed the order. On April 28, it ordered the High Court Chief Justice to reassign the case from Justice Gangopadhyay’s bench to a different other bench. However, on May 19, Justice Amrita Sinha of the High Court allowed the two agencies to question Banerjee and imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on him.
The case pertains to jobs being allegedly given to candidates in return for money instead of those who had qualified in the recruitment process in 2019. A dozen officials of the state education department, including former minister Partha Chatterjee, have been arrested in the case.
While the Central Bureau of Investigation is looking into the criminal aspect of the scam, the Enforcement Directorate is investigating the money trail involved in the alleged irregularities in the recruitment in schools.
On March 29, Banerjee had claimed at a public meeting that central agencies were putting pressure on accused persons in custody to name him in the case. Subsequently, another Trinamool Congress leader, Kuntal Ghosh, also claimed that he was being pressured by investigators to make allegations about the party’s national general secretary.