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SC rejects TMC leader Manik Bhattacharya's plea against arrest in Bengal jobs scam

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SC rejects TMC leader Manik Bhattacharyas plea against arrest in Bengal jobs scam
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed TMC MLA Manik Bhattacharya's plea against his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with alleged irregularities in the recruitment of primary school teachers in West Bengal, observing the ED's action was not illegal.

The top court refused to accept Manik Bhattacharya's argument that his arrest was illegal because of an interim order granting him protection in the CBI case, registered in the same matter.

A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath noted the ED's submission about the seizure of various incriminating documents during the search at the lawmaker's premises.

"We cannot hold the arrest of the petitioner by the Enforcement Directorate illegal as the issue of money laundering or there being proceeds of crime had not surfaced before the Single Judge or the Division Bench of the High Court. "Before us, however, it had been brought to our notice in the course of hearing on the question of the interim order passed in the instant special leave petitions that the petitioner had been cooperating with the investigation by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI," the bench said.

The top court said a general protective order, directing any other investigating agency to insulate the petitioner from any coercive action, cannot be passed in another proceeding started by a different agency.

The ED arrested Bhattacharya on October 11 after night-long questioning. Bhattacharya, a former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education, was arrested for allegedly not cooperating with the investigation.

He is the state's ruling TMC MLA from the Palashipara seat in the Nadia district.

The top court had on October 18 allowed the CBI to proceed with its investigation of the alleged irregularities in appointment of primary teachers through the Teachers Eligibility Test in 2014 in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools.

It had agreed with the submission of Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing on behalf of the CBI, that the agency is in the process of uncovering a recruitment scam of extraordinary dimension and the investigation at this stage prima facie reveals exchange of monetary considerations for giving appointments.

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TAGS:supreme court Trinamool Congress manik bhattacharya 
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