CBI failed to give reason for seeking Narada case transfer: Lawyer in HC

Madan Mitra (Source: ANI Twitter)

Counsel for Madan Mitra, one of

the four leaders who were granted interim bail in the Narada sting tape case by the Calcutta High Court after their arrest by the CBI, submitted before a five-judge bench on Thursday that the probe agency has failed to make a case out of their prayer for transfer of the matter.

Concluding his argument, senior counsel Sidharth Luthra submitted that there is no necessity for transfer of the case from the special CBI court to the high court as prayed for by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Luthra claimed that the CBI had moved the high court through an email when the bail petition of the four accused was being heard by the special CBI court.

He also submitted before the five-judge bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee, that despite interim bail being granted to the accused, the CBI had not released them but went to the high court which ordered a stay on the lower court's order.

Mitra's counsel submitted that the CBI had moved the high court without giving notice to the accused persons.

He stated that the question of creating pressure, as alleged by the investigating agency, does not arise as the hearing was done in the virtual mode.

The agency has claimed before the high court that while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had sat on a dharna at the CBI office in Kolkata soon after the arrest of the four accused, state Law minister Moloy Ghatak had been present at the Banshall Court premises during the virtual hearing of the case before the special CBI court there on May 17.

The bench will hear the matter again on June 21.

The five-judge bench granted interim bail on May 28 to ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee, who were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada sting tape case on May 17.

The special CBI court had granted them bail on that day itself, but the order was stayed by the high court, which remanded them to judicial custody.

The high court had on May 21 placed them under house arrest, modifying its earlier order of judicial custody.

The CBI is investigating the Narada sting tape case on a 2017 order of the high court.

The sting operation was conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel of Narada News, a web portal, in 2014 wherein some people resembling TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs were seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of favours.

At that time, the four arrested politicians were ministers in the Mamata Banerjee government.

The sting operation was made public ahead of the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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