Kolkata: The Kolkata High Court on Thursday said that CBI and ED officials investigating the Narada sting operation case need not appear further before West Bengal Speaker Biman Banerjee, who has time and again summoned them. The court set the next date of hearing on October 8.
Earlier this week, the ED had filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court against summons issued by Banerjee, complaining that the Speaker was interfering with the investigation. “The petitioner is aggrieved by the arbitrary, unlawful and without the authority of law summons issued by the respondents herein, thereby interfering in the independent and impartial working of the investigative officers of the Enforcement Directorate," read the plea filed by ED.
“The said summons have far-reaching consequences on the rule of law in the country and the independent functioning of the investigative agencies and their officers in the country,” it added.
On Monday, a CBI team probing the Narada case had to appear before the Speaker. The speaker had summoned both ED and CBI as the actions were taken against elected representatives without informing him.
ED has filed a chargesheet against two sitting state ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and two other TMC leaders, MLA Madan Mitra and former mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee, in Narada sting case.
Know more about the Narada case
The Narada sting case is about a series of sting operations by Narada news, which led to the uncovering of 'corrupt' practices of the ministers in the Trinamool Congress-led government, as per a report by Business Standard.
The sting operations were carried out over two years targeting senior government officers and TMC leaders. Several politicians and officers were shown accepting cash bribes for providing favours to a company. It was published months before the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections.
Narada News founder and former Tehelka reporter Mathew Samuel created a cover for himself with fake Aadhar Card and social media profiles as a high-ranking official of a fictitious Chennai-based company, Santhosh Shankaran.
Samuel initially approached the then deputy mayor of Kolkata Iqbal Ahmed who introduced him to an IPS officer (now suspended), HMS Mirza. He was then introduced by Hamza Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Aparupa Poddar, Madan Mitra, and Mukul Roy. He also met Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Bannerjee, Suvendu Adhikari, and Sultan Ahmad. In the 52 hours of footage, many of the state ministers and MPs were seen to be accepting bribes in the form of cash in return for giving undue favours.
The sting operation was a major setback for TMC already dealing with Saradha Chit fund scam. The party said that it was a political conspiracy and the videos were forged.
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