Abhishek Banerjee reaches the ED in Bengal school job scam

MP Abhishek Banerjee has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it on Thursday in connection with the alleged school job scam in West Bengal.

Kolkata | Updated: 09 November, 2023 12:19 pm IST
MP Abhishek Banerjee has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it on Thursday in connection with the alleged school job scam in West Bengal. Banerjee, who is also the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, received the summon notice on Tuesday, a day after he celebrated his birthday with his family and supporters.

The ED has been probing the multi-crore cash-for-school job case, in which several TMC leaders, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, have been arrested or questioned. The ED had earlier recovered about Rs 20 crore from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of Partha Chatterjee. The case is also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the orders of the Calcutta High Court.

This is the third time that the ED has summoned Abhishek Banerjee in the school job scam. He had earlier deposed before the agency for nearly nine hours on September 13. He had skipped the summons on October 3 and 9, citing his participation in a TMC protest rally in New Delhi and a pre-scheduled party programme, respectively. He had also sent letters to the ED, stating his reasons for not appearing.

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Abhishek Banerjee has also been questioned by the ED twice in the coal pilferage case, once in Delhi in 2021 and again in Kolkata in 2022. He has claimed that the interrogation by the central agencies is an attempt to prevent him from participating in the INDIA’ meet, a platform of opposition parties to forge unity against the BJP-led central government.

TMC spokesperson and state minister Shashi Panja has alleged that the ED summons to Abhishek Banerjee is a case of “witch hunt” and “harassment” by the Centre. She has also accused the BJP of using the central agencies as a tool to target the opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

The school job scam involves allegations of irregularities and corruption in the recruitment of teachers in state-run schools through the State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014. The petitioners in the Calcutta High Court have alleged that many candidates who got less marks ranked high in the merit list, while some who were not even in the merit list received appointment letters. The scam has also sparked protests by lakhs of job aspirants who have demanded justice and transparency in the recruitment process.

Abhishek Banerjee reaches the ED in Bengal school job scam
Joymala Bagchi

Kolkata, Nov 09: Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to appear before it on Thursday in connection with the alleged school job scam in West Bengal. Banerjee, who is also the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, received the summon notice on Tuesday, a day after he celebrated his birthday with his family and supporters.

The ED has been probing the multi-crore cash-for-school job case, in which several TMC leaders, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, have been arrested or questioned. The ED had earlier recovered about Rs 20 crore from the residence of Arpita Mukherjee, a close associate of Partha Chatterjee. The case is also being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the orders of the Calcutta High Court.

This is the third time that the ED has summoned Abhishek Banerjee in the school job scam. He had earlier deposed before the agency for nearly nine hours on September 13. He had skipped the summons on October 3 and 9, citing his participation in a TMC protest rally in New Delhi and a pre-scheduled party programme, respectively. He had also sent letters to the ED, stating his reasons for not appearing.

Abhishek Banerjee has also been questioned by the ED twice in the coal pilferage case, once in Delhi in 2021 and again in Kolkata in 2022. He has claimed that the interrogation by the central agencies is an attempt to prevent him from participating in the INDIA’ meet, a platform of opposition parties to forge unity against the BJP-led central government.

TMC spokesperson and state minister Shashi Panja has alleged that the ED summons to Abhishek Banerjee is a case of “witch hunt” and “harassment” by the Centre. She has also accused the BJP of using the central agencies as a tool to target the opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.

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The school job scam involves allegations of irregularities and corruption in the recruitment of teachers in state-run schools through the State Level Selection Test (SLST) in 2014. The petitioners in the Calcutta High Court have alleged that many candidates who got less marks ranked high in the merit list, while some who were not even in the merit list received appointment letters. The scam has also sparked protests by lakhs of job aspirants who have demanded justice and transparency in the recruitment process.

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