[SSC Recruitment Scam] Top Court agrees to hear TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee's plea against CBI's notice to question him

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"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 high court had asked Abhishek’s lawyer Advocate Sabyasachi Banerjee. 

A vacation bench of the Supreme Court today agreed to hear on May 26 an appeal filed by Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee against Calcutta High Court's order passed in the teacher’s recruitment scam in the state, which allowed CBI and ED to question him.

The impugned order was passed Justice Gangopadhyay. On Friday, a single judge bench of Justice Amrita Sinha also imposed a Rs 25 lakh fine on Banerjee for wasting the court's time by challenging the previous order passed by Justice Gangopadhyay.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the case before Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Karol today, seeking restraint on CBI to question Banerjee.

"He's campaigning outside the state. Also the costs imposed against him, we're appealing against that too", the vacation bench was told.

Justice Sinha of the Calcutta High Court had 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 had imposed a fine of Rs. 25 lakhs on him as well while dismissing 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 stated that the agencies can call Banerjee for questioning. The central agencies CBI and ED were pulled up by way of the impugned order 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.

Fourt days later, 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.

The top court on April 28 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.