Narada accused could not be produced in court due to Mamata's presence in office, CBI tells HC

KOLKATA: The CBI on Thursday claimed in the Calcutta High Court that it could not physically produce the four leaders who were arrested in the Narada sting tapes case before the designated court on May 17, owing to the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in its office and that of a large “unruly” crowd outside.

The central agency, which has made a transfer application before the high court for shifting the Narada case to itself, also pointed to the presence of the state’s Law Minister Moloy Ghatak in the Bichar Bhavan premises, within which the CBI court is located, quoting media reports.

It said in the counter-affidavit in reply to the affidavits in-opposition filed by the West Bengal government that state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee had to be produced before the designated court through the virtual mode due to the prevailing situation in and outside the CBI office, where the four accused were kept following their arrest on May 17.

The CBI also termed as false the state government’s pleadings that the agency’s office and its officers were not under siege.

In its affidavit, the CBI said some time after the four leaders were brought to its office at the Nizam Palace complex, the chief minister arrived there and demanded unconditional release of the arrested accused persons and dared its officials to arrest her as well.

“The chief minister remained present in that chamber for nearly six hours and caused hindrance to CBI officers in discharging their duties,” it said.

The CBI went on to add that “huge numbers of unruly mob gathered at the main gate of Nizam Palace, gheraoed the premises and started pelting stones”.

The five-judge bench will hear the matter again on August 16.

The bench had earlier allowed CBI to file affidavits in-reply after taking on record affidavits by the state government, Banerjee and Ghatak on a direction by the Supreme Court.