[SSC Recruitment Scam] Calcutta HC dismisses Abhishek Banerjee's plea; imposes Rs 25 lakhs fine

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Court while dismissing a plea filed by Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee imposed a fine of Rs. 25 Lakhs.

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea filed by Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee challenging the previous order passed into the teacher’s recruitment scam in the state, which allowed CBI and ED to question him.

He had challenged the order of Justice Gangopadhyay before the Top court which allowed the agencies to question him.

According to a report in The Economic Times, the single judge bench of Justice Amrita Sinha imposed a Rs 25 lakh fine on Banerjee for wasting the court's time.

Justice Sinha also denied the appeal made by arrested accused Kuntal Ghosh, who claimed that he was tortured by ED investigators in order to implicate Abhishek Banerjee in the case. She also imposed a fine of Rs. 25 lakhs on him as well. She dismissed both the appeals filed by Abhishek Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh.

The court further directed Banerjee to submit the fine before the Registrar General of the Court.

Furthermore, the court also stated that the agencies can call Banerjee for questioning.

While issuing the interim order, Justice Sinha pulled up the central agencies CBI and ED for their poor progress in the WBSSC corruption investigation.

The issue concerned alleged irregularities in the appointment of 'Group-D' staff in sponsored Secondary and Higher Secondary schools under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) on the purported recommendation by the West Bengal Central School Service Commission (WBSSC).

On April 13, Calcutta High Court directed the West Bengal Police not to lodge any FIR against CBI and Enforcement Directorate officers who are investigating the scam.

On April 17 the Supreme Court stayed the earlier order passed on April 13, order directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to question Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in the ongoing probe concerning the infamous "bribes for jobs" scam.

On April 28, the top court directed the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to reassign the matter concerning the Primary Teachers' Recruitment Scam in West Bengal to another judge.

Later on, the matter was reassigned to Justice Amrita Sinha.

On May 08, 2023, Justice Amrita Sinha asked Abhishek to lay out the exact details of his problem with the probe. Simultaneously, she also reminded him that he is not above any investigation.

If there is an investigation, why can't you cooperate? What is troubling you? The court has merely ordered a probe, and no one is above an investigation. Let me know what is troubling you? What is the difficulty?" the court asked Abhishek’s lawyer Advocate Sabyasachi Banerjee. "You are not above the law, stop being extra-apprehensive," it added.

The court further added, "Stop being extra apprehensive. I see nothing against you at least at this stage. Only a probe is ordered against a speech. Let them proceed. You have no right to be heard at this stage".

“I have full faith in the judiciary. As a citizen, I will appeal in the Division Bench of the Supreme Court after receiving the court order. If called by the agencies, I will fully cooperate,” Banerjee said on Thursday before the present court.