The Supreme Court on October 20 dismissed a plea by TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with alleged irregularities in primary teacher recruitment in West Bengal.
A Bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath refused to interfere with the ED arrest and junked the plea filed by Mr. Bhattacharya.
“The application is dismissed,” the Bench said.
The ED had arrested Mr. Bhattacharya on October 11 after night-long questioning in connection with the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of primary teachers. Mr. Bhattacharya, the former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, was arrested for allegedly not cooperating with the investigation.
He is the MLA from the Palashipara Assembly constituency in Nadia district.
The top court on October 18 had allowed the CBI to proceed with its investigation of the alleged irregularities in appointment of primary teachers in West Bengal Government-sponsored and aided schools.
It had agreed with the submission of Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing on behalf of the CBI, that the agency is in the process of uncovering a recruitment scam of extraordinary dimension and the investigation at this stage prima facie reveals exchange of monetary considerations for giving appointments.
“In our opinion, under normal circumstances, it would not be appropriate to straight away direct CBI investigation in a recruitment-related controversy unless the allegations are so outrageous and the perpetrators of the alleged offences are so powerful that investigation by the state police would be ineffectual.
“But considering the submission of counsel for the CBI and the fact that investigation by the said agency has substantially progressed, we do not want to stall such investigation at this stage and wait to see if the state police can carry on the same investigation impartially,” it had said.
The top court had also stayed the order of the Calcutta High Court directing annulment of appointment of 269 candidates as teachers.
It directed each of these 269 individuals to file affidavits to defend their appointment to the said posts and asked the appointing authority to examine legality of their appointments.
A Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court had on September 2 upheld an order of its single Bench that directed the CBI to investigate the alleged irregularities in the appointment of primary teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and -aided schools.
The high court had also refused to interfere with the order removing Mr. Bhattacharya from his official position.
The petitioners before the single Bench alleged that although they appeared for Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) -2014, no list containing the marks of candidates and indicating their respective merit positions was ever published and that an additional panel of 273 candidates was prepared “illegally”, who were granted one additional mark out of over 20 lakh candidates who appeared for the test.
It was claimed that by dint of this one additional mark, 269 candidates got qualified for the job of teachers and subsequently got appointed.