Court summons two West Bengal ministers, three others in Narada sting tapes case

By Express News Service

KOLKATA: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) submitted chargesheet in a Kolkata court in connection with the Narada sting operation case naming two Trinamool Congress ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra, former mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee and IPS officer SMH Mirza as accused.

The ED also appealed to the court for further investigation against Suvendu Adhikari, the Leader of Opposition in Bengal Assembly who joined the BJP months before the Assembly polls, Mukul Roy, who returned to TMC’s fold from BJP, TMC MPs Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee, Aparupa Poddar and former MLA Iqbal Ahmed.

The court also approved the petition of the central agency seeking permission to summon the accused asking them to appear in its Kolkata office on November 16. The court directed the ED to send summons to the three TMC lawmakers through the office of the Speaker of West Bengal Assembly and allowed the central agency to summon Chatterjee and Mirza directly.

“The ED submitted the chargesheet holding the five accused guilty of laundering money that they procured during the course of Narada sting operation. They have been summoned by the agency to follow the nest course of legal action,” said ED’s lawyer Abhijit Bhadra.

Hakim is the transport and housing minister and Mukherjee looks after panchayat affairs in Mamata’s cabinet.

On May 17, a fortnight after the TMC returned to power with the thumping majority for the third straight term, the CBI had arrested the TMC MLAs and former Kolkata mayor and they were granted bail by Kolkata high court days later.

The arrests came after governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s clearance giving the CBI a go-ahead to prosecute the TMC MLAs which triggered a political uproar. The Speaker of the Assembly said he was not aware of the action against the legislators and chief minister Mamata Banerjee described the arrests as political vendetta against TMC’s victory in the Assembly polls.

The sting operation was conducted by Narada news founder Mathew Samuel in 2014 by floating a fictitious company. In the sting operation, Samuel and a representative of the fictitious company were seen approaching people having resemblance with the TMC leaders, whose names were mentioned in the complaint, and offering them bribes.

The video footage of the sting operation was aired days before the 2016 Assembly elections in Bengal.