Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the TMC and her government will challenge the Calcutta High Court order for a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into the Narada sting operation purportedly showing some party leaders accepting money. “Of course our party and government will go to the Supreme Court for justice. If we think we have not got justice, we have the right to go to the higher court,” Banerjee told reporters.
She said her party would fight it both “politically and legally”, terming the High Court’s order to stop the Kolkata Police investigation in the matter as “unfortunate”. Banejee, who stood by her ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee and Firad Hakim, claimed the sting operation was staged and the video released at the BJP office.
Referring to a statement by state BJP president Dilip Ghosh that after the UP elections the CBI will start probe into the Narada tapes, Banerjee wondered how could he make such statement in advance. “Before a judgment is given, how can BJP state president make a press announcement that after the UP elections the CBI will investigate the Narada tapes. Before a judgment is given a political party is giving all directions.. I am a lawyer and I am really shocked,” she said.
Referring to the High Court’s criticism of the state government, she said, “They (court) can criticise the role of a government but cannot say about an elected government that the people have lost faith in it. “This was made an issue in the 2016 elections and all the three ministers shown in the Narada tapes had won the elections,” she said.
“Rs one or two lakh is not a factor… the public wants to know how many crores of funds were spent in the UP elections?” Banerjee asked. Maintaining that her party had obtained Income Tax clearance regarding all donations received by it, she said there should be an investigation against her if she had done anything wrong. On the Calcutta High Court calling the state police a “puppet” of the state government, Banerjee said, “They cannot say this.. they are taking all security from police officials. They (police)are disciplined soldiers of the government. Kolkata Police force is the best in the world, I can assure you, and we know how they are working.”
Earlier in the day, the court had ordered a preliminary enquiry into the sting, observing that the conduct of public figures must be beyond reproach. It said that given the persons against whom allegations have been made are ministers, MPs and other senior leaders from the state, it would be just to direct the CBI, and not a state agency, to conduct a preliminary enquiry.
A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborti directed the CBI to take possession of all material and devices related to the sting operation within 24 hours and conclude the enquiry within another 72 hours. The court directed the CBI to register FIR, if required, after completion of the preliminary enquiry and initiate formal investigation thereafter. The Narada sting tapes, which were released to different news organisations before the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal, showed some leaders allegedly taking money.