Narada case: CM Mamata Banerjee, others file fresh pleas before Calcutta HC for submitting affidavits

KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law Minister Malay Ghatak and the state government on Monday filed fresh applications before the Calcutta High Court for submitting affidavits before it in connection with the CBI’s plea for transfer of the Narada sting tapes case, as per a direction of the Supreme Court.

Annulling the high court’s June 9 order refusing to take reply-affidavits of the state, the chief minister and the law minister, the apex court had on June 25 asked a five-judge bench of the high court to decide afresh their pleas before making a decision on the CBI petition seeking transfer of the case.

The investigating agency has sought transfer of the Narada case from the special CBI court here to the high court.

The next hearing of the Narada sting tapes case in the five-judge bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal is scheduled on Tuesday.

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Following the apex court’s order, the state government, the chief minister and the law minister filed fresh applications on Monday for filing affidavits.

Three appeals including one by the state government were filed before the Supreme Court challenging the high court’s denial for filing of affidavits by Banerjee and Ghatak in their role on the day of arrest of West Bengal ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee on May 17 by the CBI in the Narada sting case.

In its transfer application of the Narada case from the special CBI court here to the high court, the investigating agency has made the chief minister and the law minister parties in the matter.

The probe agency claimed that while the chief minister had sat on a dharna at the CBI office here soon after the arrest of the four accused, Ghatak had been present at the Banskhall Court premises during the virtual hearing of the case before the special CBI court there on May 17.

The five-judge bench of the high court, comprising ACJ Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee, had granted interim bail on May 28 to the four Narada scam accused.

The special CBI court had granted them bail on May 17 itself, but the order was stayed by the high court, which remanded them to judicial custody They had been placed under house arrest on May 21 by the high court, modifying its earlier order of stay on the bail.

The Narada 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.