PTI / ANI image composite
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sanctioned the prosecution of TMC leaders Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee - erstwhile ministers during the time of the alleged commission of a crime that came to light in the purported Narada sting tapes. The Bengal governor's sanction for the prosecution came at the request of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing the Narada sting tapes that came to light before the West Bengal Assembly elections in 2016. "Honourable governor is the competent authority to accord sanction in terms of the law as he happens to be the appointing authority for such ministers in terms of Article 164 of the Constitution," a statement issued by the officer on special duty (communication), Raj Bhavan, said.
Governor accorded sanction for prosecution of Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra & Sovan Chatterjee being appointing authority of Ministers @MamataOfficial under Article 164 & thus competent authority— Governor West Bengal Jagdeep Dhankhar (@jdhankhar1) May 9, 2021
Media reports that sanction was for being MLA is incorrect. pic.twitter.com/vqEg7Cv6OW
All four above-mentioned TMC leaders were ministers in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet when the tapes were allegedly made in 2014. Hakim, Mukherjee and Mitra have been re-elected as TMC MLAs in the just-concluded assembly elections, while Chatterjee, who left the TMC to join the BJP, has severed links with both the camps. The statement said that the sanction for prosecution of the four leaders was accorded by Dhankhar "after the CBI had made a request and made available entire documentation relevant to the case to the honourable governor and he invoked his powers under Article 163 and 164 of the Constitution, being the competent authority to accord such sanction".
The Narada sting tapes, made public before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, were claimed to have been shot in 2014, wherein people resembling TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs were allegedly seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of promised favours. The sting operation was allegedly conducted by Mathew Samuel of Narada News portal. The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March 2017.
Two days after the West Bengal assembly election 2021 results were declared, visuals of violence started taking rounds on social media. Both the BJP and CPI(M) workers have alleged TMC of brutality. Allegations of rape on women workers have also come across. It has also been claimed that BJP workers from the state have fled to nearby areas including Assam where BJP emerged victorious after several homes were vandalized. At least 14 BJP workers are said to have lost lives and nearly one lakh people fled their homes in post-poll violence in West Bengal.