The CBI Monday arrested 4 TMC leaders, together with two ministers within the newly former West Bengal authorities, in reference to the Narada sting operation case. The CBI stated the 4 leaders — Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra, Sovan Chatterjee — had been arrested after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar granted sanction for prosecution this month.
But what it left unsaid stated lots concerning the newest flip within the case.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, who switched sides from TMC to affix BJP within the run-up to the state elections, is amongst these towards whom prosecution sanction remains to be pending.
Also, the CBI has not utilized for prosecution sanction towards senior BJP chief, Mukul Roy, who was among the many first to change over from TMC in 2017, and is Accused No.1 within the company’s FIR.
The CBI’s motion got here simply two weeks after the TMC retained energy within the state by overcoming an aggressive marketing campaign from the BJP, which had banked on a string of TMC leaders who switched sides over the previous couple of months.
Incidentally, the CBI despatched requests for prosecution of the 4 arrested leaders to the Governor in January — two months forward of polls — and obtained the sanction inside 5 days of the outcomes.
Adhikari, who supplied a silver lining for the BJP by defeating Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram, is an accused within the case together with 11 others. The request for prosecution sanction towards him — together with TMC MPs Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee — was despatched by the CBI to the Lok Sabha Speaker on April 6, 2019.
Adhikari was a Lok Sabha MP in 2014 when the Narada sting operation, wherein TMC leaders had been seen on digicam accepting or negotiating money deliveries to allegedly favour a fictitious firm, was recorded. Roy was a Rajya Sabha member in 2014. The sting was aired in 2016, forward of the earlier Assembly elections.
Sources advised The Indian Express that tips of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) state that prosecution sanction have to be granted or rejected by the competent authority inside 4 months of the request.
According to CVC data until November 2020, the CBI request for sanction to prosecute Adhikari, who joined the BJP in December final 12 months, and the three TMC MPs, is the one such request pending with the Speaker’s workplace. Om Birla took cost as Speaker in June 2019 following the final elections.
Those arrested Monday face the identical allegations as Adhikari and Roy.
According to the CBI FIR, Hakim allegedly “was shown to have agreed to accept Rs 5 lakh from the sting operator and the said amount was shown to have been accepted by his staff on his behalf, on his instructions”.
Madan Mitra, the FIR has alleged, “was shown to have accepted Rs 5 lakh from the sting operator, who told him that his company was looking for work pertaining to highways and infrastructure projects in the state of West Bengal. Mitra told the sting operator that he had seen how he used to get the work done.”
Subrata Mukherjee, the FIR stated, was allegedly “shown to have accepted Rs 5 lakh from the sting operator in the presence of (accused) Iqbal Ahmed. He was also heard assuring to show favour to the sting operator.”
Sovan Chatterjee had joined the BJP in 2019 however stop the occasion this March after he was denied a celebration ticket for the Assembly polls. According to the FIR, he allegedly “was shown to have received Rs 4 lakh in cash from the sting operator, who promised to pay a further Rs 1 lakh to him the next day. He was also shown to have assured the sting operator that he would arrange a meeting for him with Shri Abhishek Bandopadhyay, at least once, after the elections. He was heard to agree with the sting operator that he had already received the entire amount of money from him.”
On Adhikari, the FIR says he allegedly “was shown to have accepted Rs 5 lakh while assuring the sting operator to allow him to do projects in his constituency”.
The FIR describes Roy’s alleged position within the sting operation. “…he was shown to have assured to support the sting operator in his business proposals and asked him by hand gesture to come after 24th (24.4.2014) with full amount of money (the amount is not specified in the conversation). The sting operator was heard saying he had brought ‘five’ and promised to bring ‘ten’ more on 24th,” it states.
According to the CBI, in one other sting video, Roy was “shown to have told the sting operator that he had asked Shri SMH Mirza, the then SP of Bardhaman, about the interests of his company. He was also shown to have told the sting operator to hand over the money to Mirza that he had brought for him (Mukul Roy).”
In one other file, CBI has alleged, Roy advised the sting operator “he would not accept the money himself and advised him to go to his office at 6A Elgin Road after 1 hour and hand over the money to the staff available there. He was also shown to have assured the sting operator that he would also reach his office by that time”.
The CBI registered the case in April 2017. In all, the company has booked 12 leaders of the TMC, together with ministers, for alleged prison conspiracy and corruption.
Apart from Roy and Adhikari, and the 4 arrested Monday, they embrace Lok Sabha MPs Saugata Roy, Aparupa Poddar, Sultan Ahmed, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar; MLA Iqbal Ahmed; and, IPS officer S M H Mirza.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered the CBI to hold out a preliminary enquiry on the tapes that had been broadcast on the portal naradanews.com. The order was challenged by the West Bengal authorities within the Supreme Court which, in 2017, refused to offer aid and gave the CBI one month to file an FIR, if required.