Kolkata: Putting an injunction on lower court’s bail order for TMC MLAs Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and former TMC minister Sovan Chatterjee, the Calcutta High Court has late on Monday stayed the bail and ordered jail custody till May 19.
According to CBI sources, all four leaders will be put in Presidency Jail till Wednesday, the day when the next hearing of Calcutta High Court will take place.
Notably, after getting bail from the lower court, the CBI under section 407 of CrPc pleading the matter should be moved out from the current special CBI court in Kolkata, and also to transfer the Narada case outside West Bengal for fair interrogation.
“Five TMC ministers and outsiders were present inside Nizam Palace during the investigation for which the interrogation was interrupted. Moreover, there was an attack at Nizam Palace and if the venue of interrogation is changed then fair interrogation can take place,” claimed the CBI sources.
While several TMC cadres claimed that this move by the CBI is unethical, advocate and CPI (M) leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said that this move of the CBI is considered under the law and during crucial case special bench of courts operate.
Meanwhile, taking to social media, West Bengal Transport Minister Firhad Hakim said, “Today was not only a day to harass and do vendetta against me and my colleagues but also it was BJP unleashing its vengeance on the people of Bengal. Their Sore Loss and anger on people of Bengal for voting TMC with landslide margins.”
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that it is a ‘drama’ of the CBI and also that being vindictive after the poll debacle the BJP-led central government is using their central agencies to malign TMC leaders.
Notably, earlier this day the four leaders were arrested for their involvement in Narada sting operation case where the leaders were seen taking bribes and presented them before Bankshall Court virtually.
After two hours of hearing Justice Abhhijit Mukhopadhyay had granted interim bail to the four leaders.
What is the Narada scam case?
The case pertains to a purported sting operation conducted by Mathew Samuel of Narada TV news channel in 2014 in which TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs were purportedly seen receiving "illegal gratification" from representatives of a fictitious company for favours, the CBI has alleged.
The agency has alleged that Hakim was seen to have agreed to accept a bribe of Rs 5 lakh from the sting operator while Mitra and Mukherjee were caught on camera receiving Rs 5 lakh each.
Chatterjee was seen receiving Rs 4 lakh from the sting operator, it added. The tapes became public just before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal but had no impact on the poll results and Banerjee returned as the chief minister of the state.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation on April 16, 2017.
The CBI had named 13 persons in the FIR registered on April 16, 2017, which included four TMC leaders-Hakim, Mukherjee, Mitra and Chatterjee, who held the position of ministers in the Mamata Banerjee government in 2014.
Hakim, Mukherjee and Mitra were re-elected as MLAs in the recently concluded West Bengal assembly polls, while Chatterjee, who left the TMC to join the BJP, has severed links with both parties.
The sanction to prosecute the remaining eight FIR accused, all the then Members of Parliament, has not been accorded yet, officials said.
(With PTI inputs)