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Bengal govt moves SC challenging HC order in municipality recruitment scam

New Delhi: The West Bengal government has approached the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court order which had refused to put a stay on the investigation conducted by the CBI and ED in connection with the alleged municipality recruitment scam.
Advocate Sunil Fernandes, appearing for WB Govt on Friday sought urgent listing on the plea before a bench of justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and KV Viswanathan. He submitted before the top court that the accused need protection, otherwise the agencies will proceed with their investigation.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised an objection as to how a state can come and move a plea against order on CBI or ED probe. He said that if an accused had come, it can be understood.
The court said that the matter will be heard after vacation on July 3 and asked the lawyer to mention it again.
The petitioner West Bengal government preferred the plea challenging the interim order dated May 22, 2023, passed by the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court wherein bench has refused to grant interim relief of stay of the order dated April 21 passed by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay, which was subsequently modified by the Judgment dated May 12, passed by Justice Amrita Sinha.
"The Impugned Order while failing to grant stay on the investigation conducted by the CBI and ED relating to the alleged 'Municipality recruitment scam', has also proceeded to ignore the law laid down by this Court in a catena of cases," the plea stated.
It added, "The Impugned Order passed by Division Bench allowing the investigation by CBI and ED, is a feeble attempt to overreach the orders passed by this Court with impunity, and to cast aspersions on the State Govt., in a proceeding, where no opportunity has been given to the State to investigate into any alleged offence, thereby usurping their powers, in a cavalier manner".
"In fact, the Division Bench holds that the investigation by CBI is at a nascent/preliminary stage, which should be stayed with immediate effect to avoid further perpetration of illegality," the plea said.
The West Bengal government said that the Division Bench has "failed" to appreciate that Law and Order is a state subject, and the state police have the "primacy" to investigate any cognizable offence committed within its territorial jurisdiction.
It has further said that though the Constitutional Courts are empowered to transfer the investigation to CBI, such powers should be exercised sparingly and only in rare cases, which is not the case at hand, by any stretch of the imagination.
"Therefore, the Division failed to appreciate that any directions passed to the contrary are prima facie illegal and the investigation conducted by CBI and ED pursuant to such directions should be immediately stayed," the WB government said. (ANI)

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