Setback for Mamata as HC asks CBI to probe Narada sting

RSTV Bureau
Siliguri : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Bagdogra airport in Siliguri on Monday.  PTI Photo

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. (PTI)

On Friday, the Calcutta High Court ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation in which some TMC leaders were seen allegedly taking money.

Soon after the order was out, TMC chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee vowed to challenge the court order in the Supreme Court.

Calling the order “unfortunate”, Mamata said, “The TMC will fight the order both politically and legally.”

The High Court also directed the CBI to register an FIR, if required, after completing the preliminary enquiry and initiate formal investigations thereafter.

A division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborti directed the CBI to take possession of all material and devices related to the sting operation within 24 hours and to conclude the preliminary enquiry within another 72 hours.

The court also observed that given the persons against whom allegations have been made are ministers, MPs and other senior leaders from the state, it would be just to direct the CBI, and not a state agency, to conduct a preliminary enquiry.

The Narada sting tapes, done by Narada News, were released to different news organisations before the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal, showed some leaders allegedly taking money.

The division bench noted that a report by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, had said that the tapes were untampered.

Three petitions had been filed before the high court seeking independent probe into the sting tapes after examining the genuineness of the recordings.

Banerjee, who stood by her ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee and Firad Hakim, alleged that the sting operation was staged and the video released at the BJP office.

“Of course our party and government will go to the Supreme Court for justice. If we think we have not got justice, we have the right to go to the higher court,” she told reporters in Kolkata.

Meanwhile, the Opposition welcomed the verdict and demanded that the tainted ministers, seen taking bribes, be immediately removed from the cabinet.

(With inputs from PTI)