The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education and Trinamool Congress MLA Manik Bhattacharya’s plea challenging his arrest by ED in a money laundering matter relating to the alleged irregularities in primary teachers’ appointments.
A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath on Tuesday had reserved the order on Manik Bhattacharya’s plea.
Manik Bhattacharya, in his plea, submitted the investigating officer of the Directorate of Enforcement has filed a remand application before the Special Judge (CBI-I) Court, City Sessions Court, Calcutta seeking 14 days custodial remand of the petitioner on October 11 and that the arrest is affected during the currency of the protection orders passed by the top court.
“That not only is the arrest of the petition in flagrant violation of the Supreme Court interim orders, but that the investigating agency has not even informed the family members of the petitioner of his arrest, being in violation of the provisions of Section 41B of the CrPC,” the petitioner said citing the earlier apex court order passed in the alleged irregularities in primary teachers’ appointments matter being probed by CBI, where he had got interim protection from arrest.
The petitioner Manik Bhattacharya has urged the top court to declare the arrest of the petitioner in relation to proceedings initiated on the basis of ECIR and summons dated October 14, 2022, issued by the Directorate of Enforcement, Kolkata-II Zonal Office as illegal and to release the petitioner forthwith in connection with a matter.
The Enforcement Directorate has earlier told the Supreme Court that former chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education and Trinamool Congress leader Manik Bhattacharya was a key person in a money laundering case relating to the alleged irregularities in primary teachers’ appointments.
ED submitted, “investigation under PMLA has revealed the role of Dr Manik Bhattacharya Ex. President of WBBPE and MLA, Palashipara, Nadia from TMC as one of the key persons in the entire scam of offering jobs in lieu of money.”
ED, in its affidavit also said that it has been ascertained that Manik headed the West Bengal Board of Primary Education for a period of more than 10 years starting from 2011 during which more than 58000 primary teachers were recruited through the Board.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, ED has opposed the Manik Bhattacharya plea challenging his arrest in a money laundering case as the probe agency submitted that Manik Bhattacharya has remained uncooperative during the course of statements recorded under section 50 of PMLA, 2002 and has continuously tried to mislead the investigation by suppressing facts and details on the source of funds accumulated in the name of his family members.
The probe agency also said that the investigation in respect of other high-value transactions is required to be done to unearth the money trail and to identify the proceeds of the crime.
ED also mentioned the seizing of huge cash of more than 50 crore (approximately) during the searches conducted in the month of July 2022.
Two persons namely Partha Chatterjee, the then Education minister of the State of West Bengal and Arpita Mukherjee were arrested on July 23 2022.
Manik Bhattacharyya, Ex-President of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education was consequently arrested on October 10. Manik Bhattacharyya has challenged his arrest before the Supreme Court.