West Bengal teachers recruitment scam: SC notice to ED on TMC MLA’s plea

 The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Enforcement Directorate on a plea filed by jailed TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya seeking bail in connection with alleged irregularities in the teachers’ recruitment ‘scam’ case.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and SC Sharma issued notice to the ED last Friday and sought its reply on the appeal filed by Bhattacharya challenging the November 16 Calcutta High Court order rejecting his bail application.

“Issue notice,” the bench said.

“Having regard to the issue relating to which the investigation of the case is being continued, the number of victims being involved, and the accused person being an influential person, whose means, position are beyond question at the State administrative level as also the education department, his release, will have an impact at this stage of the investigation when an outer limit of 31st December 2023 has been fixed by the Hon’ble Division Bench to conclude the investigation, which is being carried on by the E.D.

“Having regard to the aforesaid, particularly, with regard to the means, position, the standing of the present petitioner, the gravity of the offence as also the stage of the investigation which is at the final stage, I am of the view that this is not a fit case for the petitioner to be released on bail at this stage,” Justice Tirthankar Ghosh of the high court had said in his order.

The ED had arrested Bhattacharya on October 11 last year after night-long questioning. Bhattacharya, a former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, was arrested for allegedly not cooperating with the investigation.

He is the ruling TMC MLA from Palashipara seat in Nadia district.

The top court had earlier dismissed Bhattacharya’s plea against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged irregularities in recruitment of primary school teachers in West Bengal, observing the ED’s action was not illegal.

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