KOLKATA: A special court on Wednesday ordered issuance of summonses to West Bengal ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim besides three others after taking cognizance of a chargesheet by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the Narada sting tapes case.
Sources in it said that the ED, which is probing the money laundering aspect of the Narada sting operation, had submitted the chargesheet against the five in the special court earlier in the day. The special CBI judge taking cognizance of the prosecution complaint of the ED, which is equivalent to chargesheet, ordered the appearance of the accused on November 16.
Apart from the two ministers and Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra, cognizance was also taken against former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee and suspended IPS officer SMH Mirza. The court directed that the summonses to Mukherjee, Hakim and Mitra be served through the office of the West Bengal assembly speaker since the three are MLAs.
Summonses to the other two are to be served directly at their addresses, the court directed.
Sources in the central agency said, “The ED has prayed for awarding maximum punishment to the accused for committing the offence of money laundering and confiscation of the bribe money accepted by the accused”.
The Narada sting operation was conducted by Narada news founder Mathew Samuel for over two years in West Bengal. Samuel had formed a fictitious company and approached several TMC ministers, MPs and leaders for favours.
In the video footage released in 2014 just before the Lok Sabha polls several TMC leaders were allegedly seen accepting money from a person posing as a businessman. The man was purpotedly offering the money to get favours for starting a business in the state.
Mathew Samuels, CEO of the Narada news portal, posed as the businessman in the purpoted video. The CBI had arrested Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee in the Narada bribery case in May this year.
Sultan Ahmed, a Trinamool Congress MP, who too figured in the video, died of heart attack in September, 2017.