A special CBI court in Kolkata has remanded West Bengal's former education minister Partha Chatterjee to judicial custody till October 5. However, it rejected a plea of the central probe agency which requested the court to allow its investigating officer to question Chatterjee and three others while they are in judicial custody.
After Chatterjee's custody with the Enforcement Directorate drew to a close, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) obtained his custody from September 16 to September 21 to question him about the alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of teachers in state-aided schools.
After Chatterjee's CBI custody ended on Wednesday, he was presented before a special CBI court, where the central probe agency requested that he be kept in judicial custody. The CBI said that they no longer wanted to keep him in their custody but emphasized the need to keep the minister in judicial custody, since being an influential person, he could tamper with evidence if he was granted bail.
The CBI also requested that they be allowed to question Chatterjee while he is kept in judicial custody.
Chatterjee's lawyer Selim Rahman raised an objection to this, saying if the central probe agency wanted, it could keep the minister in their custody for another nine days as protocol allows CBI to keep an accused in their custody for 14 days. "If the central probe agency no longer requires my client's custody, I don't see a point in the CBI's request for interrogating the minister while he is in judicial custody," said Rahman.
After hearing both sides, the court rejected the CBI's plea to question Chatterjee while he is kept in judicial custody as the probe agency could not give any satisfactory answer about the need for such a request. However, noting that Chatterjee is an influential person, the special court extended the custody of the minister and three others till October 5.