WB teacher recruitment: SC rejects TMC MLA plea against arrest

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a plea by TMC MP Manik Bhattacharya against his arrest by the Directorate of Law Enforcement in connection with alleged irregularities in the recruitment of primary school teachers in West Bengal.

A bench of judges Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath refused to interfere with ED’s arrest and dismissed the plea filed by Bhattacharya.

“The request is denied,” the bench said.

The ED had arrested Bhattacharya on October 11 after an overnight interrogation in connection with alleged irregularities in the recruitment of primary school teachers. Bhattacharya, the former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, was arrested for failing to cooperate with the investigation.

He is a Member of Parliament for Palashipara Assembly Constituency in Nadia District.

On October 18, the High Court had authorized the CBI to continue its investigation into alleged irregularities in the appointment of primary school teachers in schools sponsored and aided by the government of West Bengal.

He had agreed with the submission of Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing on behalf of the CBI, that the agency is uncovering a recruitment scam of extraordinary dimensions and the investigation at this stage reveals prima facie the exchange of monetary considerations to make an appointment.

“In our view, under normal circumstances it would not be appropriate to immediately direct a CBI investigation into a recruitment controversy unless the allegations are so outrageous and the perpetrators of the alleged offenses are so powerful that the state police investigation would be ineffective. .

“But given the CBI attorney’s submission and the fact that the investigation by said agency has progressed significantly, we don’t want to block that investigation at this point and wait to see if the state police can conduct the same investigation impartially,” he said.

The higher court had also stayed the order of the Calcutta High Court ordering the annulment of the appointment of 269 candidates as teachers.

It ordered each of those 269 people to submit affidavits in defense of their appointment to those posts and asked the appointing authority to examine the legality of their appointments.

A divisional bench of the Calcutta High Court had on September 2 upheld an order from its single bench which ordered the CBI to investigate alleged irregularities in the appointment of primary school teachers in government-sponsored and aided schools. West Bengal.

The high court had also refused to interfere with the order to remove Bhattacharya from his official position.

The petitioners before the single bench alleged that although they sat for the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET)-2014, no list containing the marks of the candidates and indicating their respective merits had ever been published and that an additional panel of 273 candidates had been prepared “illegally”. ”, which scored an extra mark out of more than 20 lakh candidates who appeared for the test.

It was claimed that thanks to this additional rating alone, 269 candidates were qualified for the post of teachers and were subsequently appointed.

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