School job scam: Calcutta HC seeks ED report on progress of probe against Abhishek Banerjee
Banerjee, a Lok Sabha MP and the Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary, is being investigated in connection with the multi-crore cash-for-school-job case
Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Amrita Sinha has sought a report from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the progress of its investigation against the All-India Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee.
Banerjee is the subject of an ED probe in connection to the multi-crore cash-for-school-job scam in West Bengal.
Justice Sinha has directed that the ED must submit a report to her bench by 14 September. Justice Sinha also asked why the central agency did not attempt to summon Banerjee again in the matter, having sent him a notice just the once.
She was not satisfied with the argument of the ED counsel that since Banerjee had already made a petition for expunging his name from the ambit of investigation in the school job case, the central agency was waiting for an order in the matter.
Justice Sinha also reacted acerbically to the submission of the ED counsel that no coercive action could be adopted unless a clear order on the petition came forth from the court. “Does that mean that you will not progress with the investigation process?” Justice Sinha asked.
Referring to a recent press statement from the ED, Justice Sinha questioned the progress of the investigation against the chief executive officer of a corporate entity linked to the school job scam. The corporate officer in question was named in the press statement issued by the central agency.
On Tuesday, 29 August, Justice Sinha also said that from now on, the central agency probe on the multi-crore municipalities recruitment case in West Bengal would also be monitored by the court.
The ED has also faced strong criticism over a central agency officer downloading a file for his personal benefit during a raid on the office of the same corporate entity last week.
The ED official, whose daughter had recently obtained admission into one of the state's reputed engineering universities, downloaded a file on students' hostels, which he was known to be evaluating for his daughter. Justice Sinha was scathing, describing his action as an investigating official on duty as "highly irresponsible".
The agency claimed on the officer's behalf that the incident was an inadvertent happenstance.