The Calcutta High Court on 21 May ordered that the four Trinamool Congress (AITC) leaders arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada alleged bribery case be kept on house arrest instead of custody in jail.
The high court referred the matter to a larger bench. The Kolkata high court order is in tune with the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the Gautam Navlakha case.
The court said that the Narada case would now be heard by a larger bench, explaining that one of the judges on the bench thought it fit to grant interim bail while another did not.
The judges of the division bench – presided by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal – differed in opinion over vacating a stay given by it on bail granted by a special CBI court to ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, AITC MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee.
The bench, comprising Justice Arijit Banerjee, finally directed that the leaders, placed under judicial remand so far, will remain in house confinement for now.
Hearing in the case is still in progress following prayers from both sides for further arguments on the court’s house arrest order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, has pleaded for a stay on the execution of the order. The high court had on Monday night stayed the lower court’s decision to grant bail to the four leaders.
The four leaders were arrested on Monday morning from their residences in the city in connection with the Narada sting case that is being investigated by the CBI on an order by the high court.
The sting operation was conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel of Narada News, a web portal, in 2014 wherein some people resembling AITC ministers, MPs and MLAs were seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of favours.