In the latest development in the controversial Narada scam case, a special CBI court on Monday evening granted bail to all four accused leaders who were arrested in the case on Monday morning. A bench led by Justice Anupam Mukherjee at the Bankshall Sessions Court granted bail to Madan Mitra, Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and former TMC MLA Sovan Chatterjee against a personal bond of Rs 50,000. The top Trinamool leaders were arrested by the CBI on Monday in connection with the Narada sting operation case.
Their arrest had stirred up massive chaos in Kolkata as TMC supporters held demonstrations defying lockdown norms in various places, including outside the CBI office. TMC workers slogans against the BJP-led NDA government, and hurled stones and bricks at security personnel outside Nizam Palace, which houses the Central Bureau of Investigation office, protesting the arrests. The agitators also burnt tyres and blocked roads in several other parts of the state, including Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself joined the demonstrations and offered to get arrested in protest against the arrest of her two cabinet ministers. Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had recently granted sanction to prosecute all the four leaders, following which the probe agency finalised its chargesheet and moved to arrest them.
"I do not know for what unknown reason they went to the governor and sought his sanction. The chair of the speaker was not vacant at that time, I was very much in office. "This sanction is absolutely illegal and arresting anyone on the basis of this sanction is also illegal," Banerjee claimed. Speaking to Republic, the Speaker echoed the Chief Minister, stating he was astonished that the CBI and the Governor had bypassed him in order to arrest the 4 politicians.
Ending her 6-hour protest, Mamata Banerjee left the CBI office on Monday evening. “Court will give the decision," said Banerjee as she left the CBI office.
The CBI on Monday morning arrested state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra as well as former minister Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada sting case in which politicians were purportedly caught taking money on camera.
The Narada sting tapes, made public before the West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016, had recorded TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs allegedly receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of promised favours. The sting operation was conducted by Mathew Samuel of the Narada News portal. The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March 2017.