The interim bail granted to the four Trinamool leaders arrested in the Narada sting operation case was put on hold after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenged the bail in the Calcutta High Court. A special CBI court had granted interim bail to the four Trinamool Congress leaders arrested by the CBI on Monday morning after about 7 hours of confrontation.
Trinamool ministers Firhad Hakkim and Subrata Mukherjee, along with MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Sovon Chattopadhyay, were arrested on Monday morning by the CBI in connection with the 2016 Narada sting tapes case in which several politicians and police officers were allegedly found accepting cash in return for unofficial favours to the 'company'. Following the arrest, CM Mamata Banerjee had held a sit-in protest at the CBI office for four hours as agitated supported pelted stones at central forces. Citing the protests, the CBI sought a trial outside of Bengal. The court has decided that the leaders shall remain in jail custody. They will be shifted to Presidency jail tonight and the next hearing shall be held on Wednesday, reports NDTV.
"I have been constantly saying that the Governor (Jagdeep Dhankhar) has no jurisdiction to sanction prosecution without the advice of the council of ministers led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The CBI asked for his permission in January and he waited till May before giving the sanction. He didn't even communicate it to the state government," Trinamool Congress MP and lawyer Kalyan Banerjee said.
"Mamata Banerjee was the Chief Minister till May 3 in her previous term and then resigned and took her oath on May 5. So how can the Governor do this without her permission? Secondly, in the present Covid situation when even the Supreme Court is asking the authorities to empty the jails and grant bails to the prisoners, the CBI is seeking custody of political leaders who are exposed to the people," he added.
The Narada tapes were allegedly shot in 2014 and show about a dozen Trinamool leaders accepting cash on camera from a fictitious company's 'operator'. The CBI had then filed an FIR against 13 persons in April 2017 following a directive from the Calcutta High Court.
Mathew Samuel, the journalist behind the sting, expressed surprise that Suvendu Adhikari, also outed in the sting, was left out. "I had gone and given the money to Suvendu Adhikari in his office. His name is not on the list. What happened? A forensic was conducted and it was proven...the CBI took a statement from me too. I even got to know that Suvendu Adhikari admitted he received the money from me," he said. Suvendu Adhikari, then Trinamool leader, jumped ship in December '20 to join the BJP