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West Bengal SSC scam case: SC dismisses TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya plea challenging his arrest by ED

New Delhi: On Thursday, Former chairman of West Bengal Primary Education Board and Trinamool Congress leader Manik Bhattacharya has received a setback from the Supreme Court in the teacher recruitment scam. The SC bench consisting of Justices Anirudhha Bose and Vikram Nath dismissed Manik Bhattacharya's plea challenging his arrest by ED.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: On Thursday, Former chairman of West Bengal Primary Education Board and Trinamool Congress leader Manik Bhattacharya has received a setback from the Supreme Court in the teacher recruitment scam. The SC bench consisting of Justices Anirudhha Bose and Vikram Nath dismissed Manik Bhattacharya’s plea challenging his arrest by ED. The Supreme Court dismissed his plea challenging his arrest in connection with the West Bengal teachers’ recruitment scam case.

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the CBI to proceed with the probe into alleged irregularities in the appointment of primary teachers in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools. Additional Solicitor General Raju, appearing for CBI, argued that the probe agency is in the process of unearthing a recruitment scam with extraordinary aspects.

Also, the investigation at this time, prima facie, reveals that there was a transaction of money in the appointments. The court agreed with his argument. Bhattacharya, in his plea, submitted the investigating officer of the ED has filed a remand application before the special judge (CBI-I) court, city sessions court, Calcutta, seeking 14 days’ custodial remand of the petitioner on October 11 and that the arrest is effected during the currency of the protection orders passed by the top court.

The court said that the CBI team working under the SIT in the scam case will continue its investigation as per the order of the single bench of the Calcutta High Court. The court ordered the CBI to submit its detailed investigation report within four weeks. Also, the court gave some relief to Bhattacharya. The court told the probe agency that during this time it would not take any step to harass the TMC leader.

The court noted that there was no allegation on behalf of the CBI that Bhattacharya was not cooperating in the investigation. The ED, in its affidavit also said it has been ascertained that Bhattacharya headed the West Bengal board of primary education for a period of more than 10 years starting from 2011 during which more than 58,000 primary teachers were recruited through the board.

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In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the ED has opposed Bhattacharya’s plea saying Bhattacharya remained uncooperative during the course of statements recorded under section 50 of PMLA, 2002 and has continuously tried to mislead the investigation by suppressing facts and details on the source of funds accumulated in the name of his family members.

Bhattacharya was the second TMC leader, after Partha Chatterjee, to be arrested in the alleged SSC scam case. Chatterjee, the then education minister of the state of West Bengal and his aide Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on July 23.

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