State Minister Partha Chatterjee heaved a temporary sigh of relief on Wednesday afternoon, as a division bench of the Calcutta High Court offered a four-week breather to him from appearing for a grilling session by Central Bureau of India (CBI) sleuths probing the recruitment irregularities scams in West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC).
Chatterjee was the education minister when the irregularities took place and currently is the state commerce & industries minister.
On Tuesday around 3.50 p.m., Calcutta High Court’s single-judge bench of Justice Avijit Gandopadhyay ordered Chatterjee, also the Trinamool Congress secretary general, to be present at the CBI office in Kolkata for grilling on Tuesday only by 5.30 p.m. However, around half-an- hour after the single-judge- bench gave the order, a division bench of the Calcutta High put an interim stay on that order till 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, the matter came up for hearing at the division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Ananda Mukhopadhyay, which granted a four-week breather to Partha Chatterjee from appearing at the CBI office for interrogation.
The single-judge bench’s order on Tuesday had two points that could have been tough for Chatterjee. The first point was that the single-judge bench stated that Chatterjee would not be able to get himself admitted at the state-run SSKM Medical College & Hospital Woodburn Ward, meant for VVIPs, before facing the CBI interrogation. The same single-judge bench also authorised the CBI sleuths to arrest Chatterjee if they felt it necessary for the sake of investigation.
On Wednesday, the division bench of Justice Subrata Talukdar and Justice Ananda Mukhopadhyay refused to accept the resignation of retired Justice Ranjit Kumar Bag, as the head of the court-appointed probe panel investigating the different WBSSC recruitment scams. The division bench ordered the retired Justice Bag headed probe panel to submit a report on irregularities relating to Group-D non-teaching staff recruitment in WBSSC.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday morning there were clashes between two groups of advocates, one aligned to the ruling Trinamool Congress and the other aligned to the Left Front, regarding entry to the court of Justice Avijit Genopathy, who ordered the CBI grilling for Partha Chatterjee. While the Trinamool Congress-aligned advocates want a total boycott of Justice Gangopadhyay’s court, the advocates of opposite political views are opposing that. The chief justice of Calcutta High Court, Justice Prakash Srivastava advised both parties to mutually settle the issue.