Bengal Chief Secy’s reply in School Jobs case irks Calcutta HC

A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday expressed its displeasure over the failure on the part of West Bengal Chief Secretary B.P. Gopalika twice in submitting a proper explanation in a matter related to the multi-crore school jobs case within the court-stipulated dateline.

The Chief Secretary was supposed to submit his reply to the court on Tuesday specifying by when the state government would give its statutory approval for beginning the trial against the state government employees involved in the multi-crore cash-for-school jobs case.

However, when the state government’s counsel submitted the report on behalf of the Chief Secretary on Tuesday, the division bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Gaurang Kanth expressed dissatisfaction over its content.

As per the report, the matter has been forwarded to the state’s legal department for the latter’s observation, and a decision on the beginning of the trial can be taken only after the Lok Sabha polls.

“What is the connection between the judicial process and the elections? Have the police stopped filing FIRs? Has the investigation process stopped? Why is the Chief Secretary not discussing the matter with the central agencies probing the case,” Justice Bagchi questioned.

The bench also noted that the silence of the Chief Secretary in this matter is creating doubts about the level of the involvement of influential persons in this case.

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“It has been nearly one-and-a-half years, but the trial process could not be initiated because of the non-availability of approval from the state government. The Chief Secretary will have to take the responsibility. Maybe he will become unpopular with a political party for that. But he should understand that he has a much bigger responsibility,” observed Justice Bagchi.

After passing its observations, the bench set a third and final deadline for the Chief Secretary to submit a definitive report to the bench by April 23. (IANS)

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