Calcutta High Court relief for TMC's Abhishek Banerjee in Bengal school jobs scam case

Calcutta High Court relief for TMC's Abhishek Banerjee in Bengal school jobs scam case

Calcutta High Court relief for TMC's Abhishek Banerjee in Bengal school jobs scam case

The Calcutta High Court on Friday granted relief to TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, directing the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take coercive steps against him in connection with its probe into the school jobs scam in West Bengal. The court, however, did not quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent to an FIR, filed by the ED against Banerjee.

The single bench of Justice Tirthankar Ghosh directed the ED that no coercive steps can be taken against the Trinamool Congress MP based on the ECIR. The court maintained that evidence produced by the ED is not sufficient to warrant Banerjee’s arrest.

It also said that the investigation against Banerjee into the alleged irregularities in recruitment of teachers in government and government-sponsored schools will continue.

Earlier this month, the TMC national general secretary was questioned by the ED for a marathon nine hours in connection with the West Bengal teacher recruitment scam.

The TMC hailed the high court judgement, while opposition Congress and CPI(M) reserved their comments.

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: “Though we should not directly comment on the probe and legal matters, but the judgement shows the central agencies have been hounding and harassing Banerjee, as he is a key force behind the battle against BJP’s communal and hatred-filled brand of politics.”

“The court has restrained the ED from harassing him further. Banerjee is helping in the probe and we know he will continue to assist the investigators,” Ghosh added.

Party leader and senior West Bengal minister Sashi Panja said the Diamond Harbour MP has already deposed before the central agencies four-five times, but still “his harassment continues”.

Congress leader Adhir Choudhury told reporters that till Banerjee is acquitted by the court, one should wait.

“The court has made some observations with regard to the probe by the ED. It is not proper to comment more at this juncture,” he said.

Sujan Chakraborty, CPI(M) central committee member, said it baffles him as to why Banerjee would need “so many rakshakabach” (protective shield) from the court if he is not guilty.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Rahul Sinha said the court has asked probe agencies to continue their investigation against Banerjee.

“Banerjee has been approaching the supreme court and the high court, seeking shields from probes by central agencies. I will not comment on judicial issues. He is entitled to such provisions,” Sinha said.