Will Cooperate With Central Agencies, But May Go To Higher Court: Abhishek Banerjee

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Stating that he is always ready to cooperate with central agencies, senior TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee on Thursday, however, added he will also explore options of moving a higher court against a Calcutta High Court order.The Calcutta High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the Trinamool Congress national general secretary seeking a recall of a previous order of the same court which said that investigative agencies such as the CBI and the ED could interrogate him in the teacher recruitment scam.Speaking to reporters, he said, “I have full respect for the judiciary and the court. I have no problem in cooperating with the investigating agencies. Earlier also, whenever the central agencies summoned me, I had appeared before them and extended my full cooperation.” “However, as a citizen of the country, I can always move to a higher court. Once I get the copy of the order from the Calcutta High Court, I will explore the options of moving a higher court, be it the Supreme Court or the division bench. I have full faith in the judiciary,” he said.Banerjee, who is presently in Paschim Bardhaman district as part of the ‘Trinamool-eh Nabajowar’ (new wave in Trinamool) mass outreach campaign, said if he is called for questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED), he will “suspend the ongoing programme for a day to attend it”.”Since April 25, I have been travelling across the state. But if the CBI or ED calls me for questioning, I will halt this mass outreach campaign for a day and attend it. I have done no wrong and I am not afraid of central agencies,” he said.Justice Amrita Sinha, while dismissing Banerjee’s petition, imposed a penalty of Rs 25 lakh on him and a similar amount on Kuntal Ghosh, an accused in the scam.Ghosh is now in CBI custody in connection with alleged irregularities in the recruitment in West Bengal government-sponsored and aided schools.The TMC leader’s name cropped up in a complaint filed by Ghosh, who alleged in it that central investigating agencies were pressuring him to name Abhishek Banerjee in the recruitment case.In his order on April 13, Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay said that accused Kuntal Ghosh could be questioned by the central agencies along with Abhishek Banerjee.Banerjee, the TMC MP from Diamond Harbour, had moved the apex court challenging the order, and his lawyers referred to an interview given by Justice Gangopadhyay to a news channel, in which he allegedly spoke against the TMC leader.Based on the order by the Supreme Court on April 28, the then-acting chief justice of the Calcutta High Court reassigned two cases — Soumen Nandy versus the State of West Bengal and Ramesh Malik versus the State of West Bengal, from the court of Justice Gangopadhyay to that of Justice Sinha.