BengalFreshly Brewed

Calcutta High Court sets Narada case hearing on May 26

If the CBI fears that the heavyweight leaders will tamper the witness then why was the arrest not done earlier: Justice Indraprasanna Mukherjee

Kolkata: Ahead of the hearing of Narada case by the larger bench of Calcutta High Court on Monday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) moved the Supreme Court over the case.

“Be it in Sarada ponzi scam or Narada sting scam or even during the arrest of former Commissioner of Police Rajeev Kumar, Mamata Banerjee was seen demonstrating on the road so we thought of moving the Supreme Court,” said a CBI officer.

Though the plea is refused by the Apex Court the CBI sources confirmed that they will again move the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, during the virtual session of the hearing at the Calcutta High Court, the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appealed before a division bench of five judges to adjourn the hearing as the CBI has filed a special leave petition (SLP) before Supreme Court over the verdict of High Court on May 19 and 21.

Refuting the plea the larger bench of the High Court held the hearing on Monday and Justice Indraprasanna Mukherjee asked the CBI why did arrest did not get done earlier.

“We didn’t get any mention of the Supreme Court so the hearing will take place. If the CBI fears that the heavyweight leaders will tamper the witness then why was the arrest not done earlier,” said the Justice referring to CBI’s earlier plea of moving the case out of West Bengal.

However, even on Monday the Calcutta High Court didn’t pronounce their verdict and set the next date of hearing on May 26.

Notably, the CBI had arrested four Bengal politicians in connection with Narada case, including three TMC leaders, out of which two are ministers– Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and a legislator Madan Mitra. Sovan Chatterjee, the fourth one, is former Kolkata Mayor. All were arrested from their residence on May 17.

However, the CBI court itself granted bail to all four, but the central government, through an additional solicitor general moved to Calcutta High Court who had given stay on the bail and gave the verdict of judicial custody for the leaders.

Following the dramatic verdict, all the four were sent to Presidency Correctional Home, from there Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovan Chatterjee due to health issues were admitted to SSKM hospital.

On May 21 after a difference in opinion between Justice Rajesh Bindal (acting) and Arijit Bandhopadhyay, the arrested leaders were sent to house arrest and the two ministers were allowed to take part in meeting virtually.

Firhad Hakim and Sovan Chatterjee are under house arrest, while Madan Mitra and Subrata Mukherjee are under treatment at the hospital.

Significantly, when the arresting was made, from TMC party to netizens on social media had raised serious questions on the act of the agency, as two more accused in the case, Suvendhu Adhikari and Mukul Roy (now both are BJP MLAs) was not arrested by the CBI.

Questions were also raised on the timing of the arrest. Assembly polls in Bengal have just concluded and Covid-19 cases are rising in the state. Many claimed, a pandemic is not the time for political vendetta, which Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against whom people of Bengal gave mandate, is doing in the state using country’s premier ageny, the CBI.

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