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Supreme Court Rejects West Bengal's Plea Against CBI Probe in Linked Municipality and Teachers' Recruitment Scam

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      22 August, 2023 10:00 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court Rejects West Bengal's Plea Against CBI Probe in Linked Municipality and Teachers' Recruitment Scam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday refused to interfere with the CBI probe ordered by the Calcutta High Court into irregularities into appointment on to various post of various municipalities, after finding a link with teachers’ recruitment scam.

The order comes as a big setback to Abhishek Banerjee, TMC MP and nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The role of Banerjee, general secretary of the ruling party has already been ordered to be investigated into the teachers recruitment scam.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the court is satisfied that a link appears between teachers’ recruitment scam, which is under investigation by CBI and ED, and the municipality recruitment scam.

Appearing for the West Bengal government, senior advocate Kapil Sibal vehemently contended that the high court erred in transferring the matter to the CBI as there was no material to establish that the state government cannot investigate the scam.

The bench, however, said that the situation would have been different if the municipality scam were to be unrelated to the teachers' recruitment scam, however the court is satisfied they are linked.

It told Sibal in clear terms that the court is not willing to entertain West Bengal petition.

The bench also trashed a contention that there was not sufficient material before the high court to transfer the probe to the central agency.

The bench noted that it is clear that the municipal recruitment and teachers’ recruitment scam is linked since the same person had prepared the OMR sheets.

“There was some wrongdoing…. this is the status report on which the single judge has relied," the bench pointed out.

Sibal asked in which other state it is happening like this.

"The ED has no jurisdiction in this matter and it has now become a roving enquiry," he said.

Additional solicitor general S V Raju, appearing for the ED, submitted it seems there is a larger conspiracy in the matter.

He claimed that there is evidence that the two scams are linked and one company was appointed to print OMR sheets for the two exams.

Raju submitted that during the investigation of the teachers’ recruitment scam, ED came across information regarding the municipality recruitment scam therefore, an application was filed before the Calcutta High Court.  

Raju said after the high court order, the CBI has registered an FIR and the investigation is in progress.

Sibal claimed that the high court solely relied upon the status report for the purpose of the order.

It will set a wrong precedent if the state machinery is bypassed and it might happen in other states too, he contended.

After a detailed hearing in the matter, the top court declined to entertain the West Bengal petition against the high court order.

The WB government challenged the validity of the Calcutta High Court's division bench order of June 15, 2023 which had upheld order for the CBI probe into municipality recruitment scam by the single judge.

According to agencies, the scam was pegged at Rs 200-250 Cr as a price was fixed for each post to be paid as bribe for recruitment to municipalities.

It was related to irregularities in recruitment of clerks, sweepers, peons, drivers, etc in various municipalities in West Bengal.

Ayan Sil, an accused in the school jobs for bribes scam, was also involved in alleged illegalities in the municipal recruitment racket case, they said.

On July 19, in a setback to TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, the Supreme Court had declined to set aside a Calcutta High Court order allowing the CBI and Enforcement Directorate to question him in connection with their probe into the West Bengal teachers' recruitment scam.



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