The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya in connection with the teachers’ recruitment scam case. Bhattacharya, who was the former chairperson of West Bengal Primary Education Board, was arrested in the wee hours of Tuesday following his alleged non-cooperation with the central agency probing the money-laundering angle in the School Service Commission (SSC) scam.
Bhattacharya was unwilling to sign the arrest memo as he pointed out that there was an interim protection order from arrest issued by the Supreme Court on September 30. According to reports, the top court’s order only grants protection from arrest by the CBI, and not ED. After the arrest of former state minister Partha Chatterjee, Bhattacharya is the second lawmaker to be arrested in the same case. The MLA from Nadia district will be taken to a special court on Tuesday.
The ED is looking into the money-laundering angle in connection with the teaching recruitment scam case, where several non-deserving candidates were offered teaching posts in exchange for cash. Bhattacharya was removed from the chairman post in the West Bengal Primary Education Board following a Calcutta High Court order in June. In the June 20 order, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, ordering the removal of Bhattacharya, cited several irregularities in the recruitment process of 269 primary teachers in state government-run schools.
The Kolkata HC further directed the West Bengal School Service Commission to determine vacancies in Group C and Group D posts in state government aided schools after the removal of undeserving candidates appointed by illegal means.