Cal HC grants relief to TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee, asks ED to not take coercive action
The court, however, did not quash the enforcement case information report (ECIR), equivalent to an FIR, filed by the Enforcement Directorate against Banerjee
The Calcutta High Court on Friday granted relief to Trinamool Congress (TMC) national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in the bribe-for-job case asking the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take coercive steps against him in connection with its probe.
The court, however, did not quash the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), equivalent to an FIR, filed by the ED against Banerjee.
The order was passed by justice Tirthankar Ghosh after a hearing on Banerjee’s petition seeking quashing of the enforcement case information report (ECIR) that ED has filed against him.
“The judge did not quash the ECIR but said no coercive steps can be taken against Banerjee on its basis,” an ED official said on condition of anonymity.
An ECIR is equivalent to a first information report (FIR).
The TMC Lok Sabha member, who is the nephew of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, was questioned by ED on September 13 in Kolkata in connection with this investigation.
On August 21, ED officials seized documents and computer hard discs from the south Kolkata office of Banerjee’s company, Leaps and Bounds Pvt Ltd.
The raids were related to the alleged bribe-for-job case.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is also probing the alleged case.
Both the agencies have earlier told the Calcutta high court and the Supreme Court that there are common links between a suspected scam in civic body recruitments and the bribe-for-job scam in the education department in which several TMC leaders, including former education minister Partha Chatterjee, have been arrested.
After he was questioned by ED on September 13, Banerjee said, “Let the ED and CBI prove that 10 paisa from any scam went to Leaps and Bounds. If they can produce any evidence, I will voluntarily walk to the gallows.”
TMC welcomed Friday’s court order saying the federal agencies are harassing Banerjee.
TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said, “ED and CBI are harassing Banerjee because he is fighting against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He responded to all summons and said he will answer all questions to assist the investigators.”
Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said the nature of the investigations is confusing common people.
“People are confused. Sujaykrishna Bhadra, who worked for Leaps and Bounds, was arrested by ED in May and the agency filed a charge sheet against him based on evidence. Yet, the ED seems to have no evidence against directors of the company. The BJP wants this investigation to end fast,” said Bhattacharya.