Narada bribery scam accused under house arrest as Calcutta HC refers case to higher bench
On Friday the Calcutta High Court referred the Narada bribery scam case to the higher judicial bench. It also ordered that all four accused TMC leaders are to be put under house arrest and not judicial custody. The differences in opinion over granting interim bail to all four accused led to the decision by a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee to refer the case to a larger bench. While Justice Banerjee was in favor of granting interim bail to all accused, Acting Chief Justice differed and was against it. All four accused Trinamool Congress leaders will be under house arrest as per the recent Supreme Court order granted in the Gautam Navlakha case.
Four leaders that are accused under the Narada bribery case include two Ministers in the West Bengal government Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and former Minister Sovan Chatterjee. All of the accused were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with Narada sting videos on Monday. Since then all of them have been in judicial custody.
The accused are being represented by Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta is arguing for the CBI. Mr Singhvi sought to ease up for Minister Firhad Hakim, who is chairman of the Board of Administrators, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, and is actively involved in fight against the pandemic. The arrested leaders are allowed to access files and meet officials through video conference, ruled the Court.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called the arrests of TMC leaders a “political vendetta” by BJP. She said, “The matter is sub judice and I do not want to comment. However, I will say whatever happened to them is wrong. It is a clear instance of deliberate political vendetta. Bobby [Firhad Hakim] and his team were fighting Covid from the streets. He even volunteered for a trial of Covishield with risk to his life. Now he and others are kept behind bars day after day. Three to four days have passed. They could not work for days. I hope we will get justice from the court.”