Mere days after being sworn in, West Bengal Cabinet Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee as well as TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former Mayor Sovhan Chatterjee were brought to the CBI office in connection with Narada scam and subsequently arrested.
Others including Chatterjee's wife Ratna, and MP Santanu Sen have also arrived at the CBI office, as has West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The CBI is slated to submit a charge-sheet for the arrested TMC leaders today.
As per an update shared by NDTV, central forces had arrived at the homes of the four leaders on Monday morning and carted them away to the CBI office. Banerjee reportedly drove to the CBI office even as protesting TMC supporters gathered outside. As per The Free Press Journal's Aritra Singha, TMC cadres are agitating outside Nizam Palace over the arrest of the TMC MLAs.
West Bengal Assembly speaker Biman Bandhopadhyay contended that the arrest was illegal as his permission had not been sought for the same. Meanwhile, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh has demanded the arrest of BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari - both of whom had been TMC leaders at the time, and had had their names linked to the issue.
"I have heard CM Mamata Banerjee telling the officials that there is no rule that without the speaker's and State govt's permission one can arrest state officials. You have to arrest me (Mamata) if you arrest my officials," news agency ANI quoted Advocate Anindo Raut as saying.
The escalation comes mere days after West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar sanctioned their prosecution on a request from the CBI. This in in conjunction with the posts they had held at the time of the the purported Narada sting tapes. All four were ministers in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet when the tapes were allegedly made in 2014.