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Partha Chatterjee moves apex court seeking stay on Calcutta High Court order

Minister’s pleas likely to be heard on Friday, says counsel

Tapas Ghosh | Published 20.05.22, 06:09 AM
Partha Chatterjee at the  CBI office in Kolkata on Wednesday

Partha Chatterjee at the CBI office in Kolkata on Wednesday

Sourced by The Telegraph

West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee has moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on a Calcutta High Court order asking him to appear before the CBI, counsel appearing for him said on Thursday.

The same appeal filed before a division bench of the high court has been reassigned to another division bench of the court as the senior judge of the former refused to hear the matter on Thursday.


Both appeals are likely to be heard on Friday, said Chatterjee’s counsel.

Chatterjee was questioned by the CBI for nearly four hours on Wednesday evening in connection with hundreds of allegedly illegal recruitments in Bengal’s government-aided schools when he was the state’s education minister.

On Wednesday, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the high court had asked Chatterjee, now the minister for industry, commerce and parliamentary affairs, to appear before the CBI by 6pm that day in connection with the recruitments, which were made on the basis of the recommendations of the School Service Commission (SSC).

The judge had also given liberty to the central agency to take Chatterjee into custody, if needed.

On Thursday, the division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Ananda Mukherjee was assigned by Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava to hear Chatterjee’s appeal.

After Justice Gangopadhyay issued the order for CBI interrogation on Wednesday, lawyers appearing for the minister tried their best to obtain a stay from the division bench headed by Justice Harish Tandon.

But as the appeal was not affirmed by the department concerned of the high court, Justice Tandon did not hear the case on Wednesday, leaving Chatterjee with no option but to appear before the CBI at Nizam Palace.

On Thursday, when the appeal was moved before the division bench again after getting all formalities done, Justice Tandon refused to hear the appeal on “personal grounds”.

“I am releasing the matter from my court on personal grounds and sending it to the Chief Justice for further assignment,” Justice Tandon said in the court when the matter came up for hearing before his division bench.

The Chief Justice then assigned the case to the division bench of Justice Talukdar and Justice Mukherjee.

Chatterjee had also moved the same appeal before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, said his counsel.

“My client has moved a special leave petition before the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on Justice Gangopadhyay’s order. The petition is likely to be heard on Friday,” said the lawyer.

High court sources said Chatterjee was fearing that CBI investigators could summon him again for questioning as the five persons he had appointed as members of the SSC advisory committee for recruitment of teachers and other staff have been interrogated.

The CBI, the sources said, can again call Chatterjee to find out whether the depositions made by the five were in line with the minister’s statements.

“My client had no knowledge about irregularities, if any, in the recruitment process during his tenure,” said counsel for Chatterjee.

Last updated on 20.05.22, 06:09 AM

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