TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday appeared before the CBI at its Kolkata office on Saturday morning, as part of the agency’s probe into the school jobs “scam”. Banerjee drove down to the CBI office at Nizam palace amidst heavy security deployment in the area at around 10.58 am and went to meet the officers designated to probe the case.
Earlier in the day, Enforcement Directorate conducted a raid at the residence of Sujay Krishna Bhadra, considered to be close to TMC top brass in connection with its probe into the school jobs scam, an official of the central agency said.
The raid was carried out at the Behala house of ‘Kalighat er Kaku’ (Kalighat’s uncle) as he is popularly known, the official said.
Bhadra had on March 15 appeared before the CBI for his alleged involvement in illegal appointments made in different state-run and state-aided schools in West Bengal.
While the Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the criminal aspect of the scam, the ED is looking into the money-trail involved in the alleged irregularities in the recruitment in schools. The TMC leader who was on the campaign trail in Bankura in western Bengal had rushed back to Kolkata Friday night to answer the summons sent by the central investigative agency.
“You are hereby directed to appear before me on Saturday, at 11 am …” the letter sent by a deputy superintendent of the CBI to Banerjee’s Harish Mukherjee road address said.
In a tweet acknowledging he has recieved the summons, Banerjee had said,”unfazed by these events, I shall strive to serve the people … bring it on.” Later on Friday, the TMC leader and nephew of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, had in an impromptu speech delivered from atop his vehicle had also dared the central agency to arrest him if it has any proof of corruption or misconduct against him “I dare the CBI to arrest me if they have any proof of corruption against me. They have been probing many cases in Bengal for the last several years. They should arrest me if they have any proof against me,” Abhishek said at a rally in Bankura.
On Thursday, Calcutta High Court had dismissed a petition filed by Banerjee seeking recall of a previous order of the court which said that investigative agencies such as CBI and ED could interrogate him in the teacher recruitment scam.
The TMC leader’s had name cropped up in a complaint filed by Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the scam. Ghosh alleged that he was being pressured by central investigating agencies to name Abhishek Banerjee in the school scam case.
An attempt on Friday to get a division bench and after that the chief justice of Calcutta High Court to hear his revision plea did not yield results.
The matter may now be taken up before a vacation bench of the High Court which will sit from Monday onwards.