Minister Partha Chatterjee questioned by CBI for over 3 hours in connection with the SSC recruitment scam
The Calcutta High Court asked the minister to appear before the agency before 6 pm today.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers on Wednesday questioned senior Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee for over three hours in the agency’s Nizam Palace office in Kolkata in connection with controversial appointments of teachers in state-aided schools on recommendations of the School Service Commission.
Earlier in the day, the Calcutta High Court had asked the minister to appear before CBI by 6 pm today. Though Chatterjee had moved the court against the order, it was not heard, compelling the minister to appear before CBI officers before 6 pm. He was seen coming out of the CBI office after over three and a half hours. From there, he headed to his party office in Behala.
Chatterjee, currently the state Information Technology minister, was in charge of the state education department when the appointments took place. A bench headed by Justice Abhijit Bandopadhyay had directed Chatterjee to appear before the CBI. Justice Bandopadhyay, according to some reports, hoped that the senior minister would resign from his position.
Earlier, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court upheld orders of a single bench that had directed the CBI to inquire into illegal appointments by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. The division bench of Justices Subrata Talukder and AK Mukherjee had said that the single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay was not wrong in ordering a probe. They termed the irregularities as a public scam. The division bench said that the orders of the single bench required no intervention. The single bench had ordered then state education minister Partha Chatterjee to appear before the CBI, and held that a five-member committee to oversee the appointment process for a 2016 panel for recruitment of teachers for classes 9 and 10 and group C and D staff in government-aided colleges was illegal. These orders had earlier been stayed by the division bench on a series of appeals. The division bench accepted the recommendations of the Justice RK Bag Committee calling for prosecution of the then senior officials connected to the scam.