Justice Abjijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court on Thursday gave full liberty to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take the former chairman of West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) and ex-Vice Chancellor of the University of North Bengal, Subiresh Bhattacharya, anywhere outside the state and question him on the multi-crore teachers’ recruitment scam.
However, Justice Gangopadhyay left the final decision on this count to the CBI authorities.
He made this observation after the CBI counsel informed his bench that Bhattacharya has extended least cooperation in the investigation process among the 350 persons interrogated by the central agency, either as accused or as witnesses, in connection with the case.
The CBI counsel also informed the court that the central agency sleuths have questioned Bhattacharya at the Presidency Central Correctional Home, where he is lodged under judicial custody.
“If Bhattacharya does not cooperate, appeal again for his fresh custody. If you feel the necessity of questioning him elsewhere like Delhi, Assam or Bhubaneswar, you can do that,” Justice Gangopadhyay told the CBI counsel.
At this point, he referred to the case of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who was questioned by the CBI in Shillong in February 2019 in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.
CBI had arrested Bhattacharya, the then Vice Chancellor of the University of North Bengal, on September 19 in connection with the teachers’ recruitment scam.
Bhattacharya was the Chairman of WBSSC between 2014 and 2018, with Partha Chatterjee as the Education Minister, when the teacher recruitment scam purportedly took place. Both Bhattacharya and Chatterjee are currently under judicial custody.
On August 24, the CBI had raided the residences of Bhattacharya in Siliguri and Kolkata. Bhattacharya had said then that although there might have been some technical mistakes in the appointment process during his tenure as the WBSSC Chairman, there was no corruption in the process.