ED files chargesheet against senior Trinamool leaders in Narada case
Kolkata, Sep. 1 (IANS): In a major development, the Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday filed a chargesheet with a sessions court here against two Trinamool Congress ministers, Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, ex-minister Madan Mitra, former Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and IPS officer S.M.H. Meerza in connection with the Narada sting operation case.
All of them have been summoned to be present before the court on November 16.
According to ED officials, as Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim and Madan Mitra are elected members of the state Assembly, the summons would be sent to them through Speaker Biman Banerjee. The summons to Sovan Chatrerjee and Mirza will be sent to them directly.
The ED officials also said that there are other influential persons like Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, Trinamool MP Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee and BJP-turned-Trinamool leader Mukul Roy, against whom probe will continue.
The Narada scam refers to a 2014 sting operation targeting high-ranking officials and politicians of Trinamool-led West Bengal government, which showed several politicians and high-ranking officials accepting bribes and illegal gratifications in exchange of unofficial favours for the companies offering the bribes.
The sting operation was made public ahead of the 2016 Assembly elections. The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI-led probe into the Narada scam in March 2017, while the ED was also roped in to investigate the case.
Four Trinamool leaders — Mukherjee, Hakim, Mitra and Chatterjee — were arrested by the CBI on May 17 after which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had held a six-hour protest outside the CBI headquarters in Kolkata, demanding their unconditional release.
Her supporters too gheraoed the compound housing the CBI office.
A special CBI court granted interim bail to the four leaders because the agency did not request their custody. The CBI court also cited the Supreme Court’s judgment on prison decongestion. Challenging the special court’s order, the CBI had appealed to the Calcutta High Court, which revoked the special court order and sent the four accused to judicial custody.
However, the Calcutta High Court later ordered house arrest of the four leaders. They were granted interim bail on May 28 by the high court.
Meanwhile, Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh has accused the ED of taking a partisan attitude in the matter.
“Suvendu Adhikari’s name is not there in the chargesheet. The Centre is using the central agencies to throttle the voice of the opposition,” Ghosh claimed.