The Supreme Court has stayed the imposition of Rs 25 Lakh as cost on TMC Leader Abhishek Banerjee by Calcutta High Court which had also denied to pass any orders to CBI and ED to not to interrogate him in Teacher recruitment scam case. The matter has been listed for July 10, 2023.

A bench of Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice P.S. Narasimha heard the matter.

At the outset, the bench denied to interfere with the investigation in the matter. However, was of the opinion that an interference was warranted as far as the imposition of costs was concerned.

"The man is giving a speech. He has nothing to do with the batch, In the speech, he refers not to any actual judges in person. But a direction is passed to investigate him. I will show all errors, this is the first error", argued Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

While submitting an alleged error on face of the record, Singhvi underlined the jurisdiction issue in the matter, he further said that "anything a single judge will look into, will be subsequent, not prior. He looked into prior, that is the second error".

"Ultimately, the order which was supposed to be recalled, only said, investigate if you want. Independently of that order, ED has power to investigate, the power can not be usurped", submitted ASG SV Raju in response.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the State submitted the State is also filing an appeal.

To which the bench said that the bench will hear it when the matter comes up on July 10, 2023.

"After all, these are not issues affecting the common citizen", Justice Narasimha then remarked.

The Supreme Court had earlier agreed to hear on May 26 a plea by senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee against his questioning by the CBI in the school jobs scam case.

Banerjee, who was on May 20 questioned for over nine hours by the CBI in connection with the probe into the case, has sought the apex court direction that no coercive steps be taken against him by the agency.

Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Banerjee, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sanjay Karol.

Banerjee's name cropped up in a complaint filed by Kuntal Ghosh, a local businessman and an accused in the school jobs scam, where he alleged that central investigating agencies were pressuring him to name Banerjee, who is the national general secretary of the TMC, in the case.

The agency's summons came within 24 hours of the Calcutta High Court dismissing on Thursday a petition filed by Banerjee seeking recall of a previous court order, which said that investigative agencies such as the CBI and ED could interrogate him in the teacher recruitment scam case.

While mentioning the matter before the apex court, Singhvi said Banerjee has already been quizzed for over nine hours by the CBI and the TMC leader is apprehending that he may be arrested if called against for questioning by the agency.

"I (Banerjee) am asking for no coercive step", Singhvi told the bench while requesting it to list the matter for hearing in this week.

The bench agreed to hear the plea and told Singhvi to ask his junior counsel to go to the mentioning officer.

After his questioning was over on May 20, Banerjee had told the mediapersons keeping vigil outside the CBI's office at Nizam Palace in Kolkata, that the questioning was a waste of time for both him and the investigative agency's officers, but he "cooperated in all that was asked".

The two-time TMC MP from Diamond Harbour was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) twice in the coal pilferage case in the agency's office in the national capital in 2021 and also in Kolkata in 2022.

While the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the criminal aspect of the scam, the ED is looking into the money trail involved in the alleged irregularities in school recruitment.

Cause Title: Abhishek Banerjee v. Soumen Nundy