WBBPE Scam: SC extends Manik Bhattacharya's shield from arrest till Friday


Kolkata, Sep 28 : In a temporary relief for Trinamool Congress legislator Manik Bhattacharya, the Supreme Court on Wednesday extended his shield from arrest by the CBI till Friday. On Tuesday, just a couple of hours after the Calcutta High Court ordered Bhattacharya, the former president of West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE), to appear before the CBI by 8 p.m., the Supreme Court had given relief to the Trinamool MLA from arrest till Wednesday afternoon. However, the apex court on Wednesday did not put a stay on the inquiry by the CBI into the multi-crore primary teachers' recruitment scam involving the WBBPE. The matter will be next heard on Friday. The latest development means that the order passed by the Calcutta High on Tuesday relating to tampering and destroying optical mark recognition (OMR) sheets in the examination for recruitment of primary teachers in 2014 stands, and there is no respite for Bhattacharya from facing the CBI in the matter. On Tuesday, the high court had also given CBI the liberty to arrest Bhattacharya in case of non-cooperation in the investigation process. However, Bhattacharya, who is in Delhi now, is yet to abide by the verdict of being present at the CBI office in Kolkata. Now it is to be seen when Bhattacharya reaches Kolkata and turns up at the CBI office to face questioning. Legal experts said that although the apex court on Wednesday gave him a temporary shield from arrest for two more days, it did not allow him to avoid questioning by the CBI in the matter. It is alleged that a total of 20.90 lakh candidates appeared for the written examination in 2014, out of which as many as 12 lakh OMR sheets were tampered with and destroyed, paving the way for recruitment irregularities. On Tuesday, the high court observed that CBI should conduct a probe as to why and how those OMR sheets were destroyed during Bhattacharya's tenure as WBBPE president. /IANS


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