The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on 17 May arrested West Bengal cabinet ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee along with Trinamool Congress (AITC) MLA Madan Mitra and ex-West Bengal minister Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada case.
The probe agency will submit the chargesheet on 17 May itself and produce them before the court. The arrest comes a week after West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar accorded sanction to prosecute the four former AITC ministers.
The statement said that Governor Dhankhar accorded the sanction for prosecution of the four leaders “after the CBI had made a request and made available entire documentation relevant to the case to the honourable governor and he invoked his powers under Article 163 and 164 of the Constitution, being the competent authority to accord such sanction”.
This is to be noted that the Narada sting tapes which were made public before the West Bengal 2016 assembly elections, claimed to have been shot in 2014. In the video, the ministers were allegedly seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of promised favours.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the CBI office in Kolkata soon after the arrest of her ministers and MLAs. Other AITC leaders also reached the office along with Banerjee.
All four were ministers in the Banerjee cabinet when the tapes were allegedly made in 2014.
While Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Madan Mitra have been re-elected as AITC MLAs in the just-concluded assembly elections, Sovan Chatterjee, who left the AITC to join the BJP, has severed links with both the camps.
The Narada sting tapes, made public before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, were claimed to have been shot in 2014, wherein AITC ministers, MPs and MLAs were allegedly seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of promised favours.
After Governor Dhankhar’s move, Firhad Hakim had said, “I personally do not mind the prosecution as I have full faith in the judiciary. I am sure we will all get a clean chit. The BJP had been unnecessarily trying to malign my image and career.”
“It is good that the case was being moved to the court. I will say what I have to in court, and justice will be served,” he said.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March 2017.