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Calcutta High Court turns down Partha Chatterjee plea for stay on CBI questioning

Probe agency summons former education minister again next week, awaits clarifications from him

Tapas Ghosh, Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 21.05.22, 06:47 AM
Partha Chatterjee

Partha Chatterjee

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A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Subrata Talukdar on Friday refused to stay the May 18 order of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the court asking minister Partha Chatterjee to appear before the CBI in connection with allegedly illegal recruitments in government-aided schools.

The single-judge bench’s order also gave liberty to the central agency to take Chatterjee into custody, if needed.


The CBI questioned Chatterjee, who was education minister when the controversial appointments were made, on Wednesday and has again summoned him next week.

A CBI officer said they had sought clarifications from Chatterjee on certain issues related to the recruitments and were expecting his replies in the next in-person session.

Although Chatterjee’s plea that the order for CBI interrogation be stayed was turned down, an observation by Justice Talukdar came as a partial relief for the minister.

“The expectation made by (Justice) Gangopadhyay that the chief minister and the governor should take steps to remove Chatterjee from his present post will not be binding upon the authorities to carry out,” Justice Talukdar observed.

Hours after Chatterjee’s plea was turned down, Trinamul workers came out in his constituency in Behala in southwest Kolkata to celebrate 11 years of the Trinamul-led government in West Bengal. But some rallyists shouted slogans against the CBI and the court orders. Some protested against the orders on social media, too.

Chatterjee issued an appeal through Facebook: “Some over-enthusiastic people have protested through Facebook. I request them to immediately delete such posts. This is my request to all party members to not mix the rally meant to celebrate the Ma Mati Manush government’s completion of 11 years with any other issue.”

The order by the bench headed by Justice Talukdar followed pleas by Chatterjee’s counsel Anindya Mitra and Kalyan Bandyopadhyay, who submitted that Justice Gangopadhyay had issued the order without giving Chatterjee a chance to defend himself.

Mitra said: “The order passed by Justice Gangopadhyay was against the principles of natural justice as it was delivered without giving an opportunity to my client to defend himself.”

He also submitted that Justice Gangopadhyay had been “unjust” by “expecting” that Chatterjee should be removed from his present post.

According to the norms, “observations and expectations” by any judge are considered as orders and are carried out, a senior lawyer not involved in the case said.

Advocate Bandyopadhyay accused Justice Gangopadhyay of “going beyond” his jurisdiction. He told the court: “Instead of monitoring the case, the trial judge (Justice Gangopadhyay) has started to supervise the investigation by the CBI.”

The petitioner’s lawyer, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, opposed Chatterjee’s prayer.

Chatterjee has also moved an appeal in the Supreme Court. It is yet to be heard.

Last updated on 21.05.22, 08:56 AM

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