Published On: Mon, May 17th, 2021

Narada case: CBI arrests TMC’s Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra, Sovon Chattopadhyay

Kolkata: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested two Trinamool Congress ministers — Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, apart from former Trinamool Minister and present MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata Corporation Mayor Sovon Chattopadhyay in the Narada sting tapes cases where several politicians and a high-ranked police officer were allegedly found accepting cash bribes in exchange for providing favours to the company.

Violence erupted outside CBI’s Kolkata office, where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee sat on dharna

In a statement, the CBI said, “Hakim, Mukherjee, Mitra and Chatterjee have been arrested by CBI and are being produced in the jurisdictional court.”

The statement said that the chargesheet against the five persons against whom Prosecution sanction is received is being submitted in court.

The CBI had earlier arrested IPS officer SMH Meerza in connection with the case, who is presently out on bail. He is the fifth accused.

The CBI said that it has received the prosecution sanction against the four arrested leaders on May 7.

Along with Hakim three others were brought to the CBI regional office at Nizam Palace in the morning.

The CBI officers with large central forces went to the houses of the leaders and the ministers in the morning at around 9.30 am and brought them to the regional office without even allowing them to speak to their lawyers.

Sources in the agency said that all of them were made to sit in separate rooms on the 15th floor of the office and they were allowed to consult their lawyers.

Though questions have been raised about the arrest of two cabinet ministers without the permission of the Speaker, the CBI officials said that they had sought the permission of the Governor and Jagdeep Dhankhar had given them the permission to prosecute.

“We will appeal for the bail,” one of the lawyers said.

The arrests obviously attracted controversy because Governor Dhankhar has accorded sanction of prosecution to the premiere agency just few hours before the oath taking ceremony of the ministers.

“The plea for sanction was made a little before MCC came to an end. I thought it as an act of propriety that at that point of time I should not be giving attention to the matter.

“The moment the poll process was over, the matter engaged my attention because such issues should not be delayed and so I acted and you know the results.

“As coming to issues on people taking oath in respect of whom sanctions for prosecution has been accorded is a matter of propriety to be taken not by those who make a request to the governor to appoint them,” the governor had said.

Meanwhile, violence erupted outside CBI’s Kolkata office, where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee sat on dharna for over four hours to protest the arrest of four of her Trinamool Congress leaders including two of her cabinet colleagues.

Even though the city was under lockdown, the police remained inactive and allowed thousands of Trinamool supporters encircled the Nizam Palace and throw all caution to winds. The TMC supporters there after started pelting stones at central para-military forces guarding the CBI office.

Seeing things slipping out of hand, the local police started trying to ward off the angry Trinamool supporters but without success.

Within hours of arrest of party leaders including two minister in state cabinet, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office. On reaching there, Mamata Banerjee rushed to the 15th floor of the ‘Nizam Palace’, where the CBI has the office of its anti-corruption cell.

Her spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut told waiting mediapersons: ” Didi (Banerjee) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested.”

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