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Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee's Nephew Abhishek Appears Before CBI in School Jobs Scam

Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary and MP, is being questioned in CBI’s Kolkata office in Nizam Palace.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Image Courtesy: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Image Courtesy: PTI

Kolkata: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader, Abhishek Banerjee, continues to face trouble in the ongoing recruitment scam case in West Bengal.

On Friday, the Calcutta High Court's division bench refused to grant an urgent hearing to Abhishek Banerjee's appeal, challenging a single bench order that stated there was no restraining order preventing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from acting on a notice served to him.

Abhishek Banerjee, the TMC national general secretary and Member of Parliament, appeared before the CBI in their Kolkata office in Nizam Palace on Saturday. He has temporarily suspended his Nabo Jowar mass outreach campaign to comply with the CBI's investigation into the school recruitment scam.

Sources within the TMC said Abhishek Banerjee decided to return to Kolkata and suspend his mass outreach campaign for a day or two. "I am returning to Kolkata following a development," he told reporters on Friday.

Earlier in the day, the 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, as reported by PTI.

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, said PTI.

Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee has come to Abhishek's defence and stated that if there are any attempts to obstruct the Nabo Jowar Yatra, she will join the yatra to ensure its success, even if her nephew is barred from participating.

It is worth noting that Abhishek Banerjee had previously requested legal safeguards and a stay on the order of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Caclutta High Court after his case was transferred to the single bench of Justice Amrita Sinha as per the Supreme Court's directive.

On Thursday, the High Court dismissed Banerjee's petition seeking a recall of a previous order, which allowed investigative agencies like the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to interrogate him regarding the teacher recruitment scam.

While dismissing the petition, Justice Amrita Sinha also imposed a penalty of Rs 25 lakh on Abhishek Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, another accused in the scam.

Banerjee approached a division bench to challenge Justice Sinha's order and requested an urgent hearing. However, the division bench, presided over by Justice Subrata Talukdar, informed Banerjee's lawyer that only matters listed for Friday would be heard, as the bench already had numerous hearings and pending orders.

The division bench allowed Banerjee's lawyer to bring the matter before the Chief Justice to request its reassignment to another bench. In her order, Justice Sinha mentioned that the CBI's notice to Banerjee had not been acted upon, as no restraining order prevented the investigating authority from proceeding with it.

She dismissed the petitions filed by Banerjee and Kuntal Ghosh, who had lodged a complaint with the local police, claiming that he was being pressured to implicate the TMC MP. The court imposed a penalty of Rs 25 lakh for each of them.

The Soumen Nandy versus State of West Bengal case, in which the order was passed, was transferred from Justice Gangopadhyay's court to Justice Sinha's court by the High Court's Acting Chief Justice, following a directive from the Supreme Court.

 It is worth noting that Kuntal Ghosh, currently in custody in connection with the case, holds the position of TMC Youth Congress Secretary and is an influential member of Banerjee’s inner circle.

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