Teachers’ recruitment scam: Calcutta HC asks Manik Bhattacharya to face CBI by 8 pm

A single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday directed Trinamool Congress MLA and former president of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE) Manik Bhattacharya to face the CBI officials at the agency’s Nizam Palace office in central Kolkata by 8 p.m tonight.

Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay passed this order on a petition alleging tampering and destruction of optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets in the examinations for recruitment of primary teachers’ recruitment in West Bengal in 2014.

While passing this order, Justice Gangopadhyay also gave liberty to CBI to arrest Bhattacharya if the latter does not cooperate in the investigation process.

In the petition it has been alleged that a total of 20.90 lakh candidates appeared for the written examination for primary teachers’ recruitment in West Bengal in 2014 and out of that as many as 12 lakh OMR sheets were tampered with and destroyed and this paved the way for recruitment irregularities.

Justice Gangopadhyay’s bench observed that CBI should conduct a probe on why and how those OMR sheets were destroyed and for that purpose the questioning of Bhattacharya was extremely important.

On September 2, Calcutta High Court’s division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Lapita Bandopadhyay upheld an order on June 16 this year by the same court’s single- judge bench of Justice Gangopadhyay directing CBI probe in the matter and removal of Bhattacharya from the chair of WBBPE president. Although on September 23, Manik Bhattacharya approached the Supreme Court challenging the September 2 order of the division bench, he is yet to get a shield from the apex court of the country in the matter.

State BJP spokesman in West Bengal, Samik Bhattacharya said that from the sequence of events it is clear that Bhattacharya played an important role in the primary teachers’ recruitment scam. CPI(M) central committee member, Sujan Chakraborty said that it is unfortunate that a thoroughly corrupt person like Bhattacharya is not only a ruling party legislator but also has been holding the important post of WBBPE president.

Trinamool Congress’s state vice president, Jaiprakash Majumdar said that only Manik Bhattacharya will be able to answer on what happened with the MR sheets. “The law will take its own course. But that does not mean that the entire Trinamool |Congress is linked in the matter,” he said.

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