A special division bench set up by the Calcutta High Court Chief Justice following a Supreme Court order on speedy disposal of cases related to alleged irregularities in recruitments in secondary schools directed the CBI on Wednesday to submit its final investigation report by January 9.
The apex court had on November 10 sent the cases — related to allegedly illegal appointment of teachers and other employees for government-aided secondary schools in Bengal — back to the high court and asked the Chief Justice to set up a special division bench for the disposal of the cases.
In that order, the Supreme Court had asked the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate, which are investigating the alleged irregularities, to submit their reports within two months.
Following the order, Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam of Calcutta High Court constituted a division bench with Justice Debangshu Basak and Justice Shabbar Rashidi to hear the cases.
In its first hearing on Wednesday, Justice Basak, the senior judge on the bench, held that unless and until the CBI and the ED filed their final reports, the cases could not be heard.
Accordingly, the bench directed the CBI to file its final probe report by January 9, the last date of the Supreme Court-mandated two-month period for submission of reports.
Lawyer Billwadal Bhattacharya, who appeared for the CBI, prayed for more time and said the final report had yet to be prepared.
“If the updated report is furnished before the court, there is a possibility of evidence tampering,” Bhattacharya said.
But the bench said the investigating agency must abide by the Supreme Court ruling and place its final report by January 9. The matter will come up for hearing that day.
Appearing for the state, advocate Kalyan Bandyopadhyay criticised the role
of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the high court, who had been assigned the cases related to the appointment of teachers and other employees in secondary schools.
“The single-bench judge (Justice Gangopadhyay) had whimsically issued orders without giving an opportunity to the accused to defend themselves. No judge has the power to cancel the appointment of teachers and staff without hearing them,” Bandyopadhyay said.
Advocate Firdaus Shamim, who represented the candidates who are claiming that they had been denied jobs because of the alleged irregularities, said the truth should come out as soon as possible “so that my clients get the jobs”.
Earlier, on various occasions, the CBI and the ED had sought more time on the ground that the investigation was on and more and more evidence was appearing.
“But the special division bench did not entertain any request for more time. The CBI has to file the final report by January 9,” said a lawyer on the state panel.