Narada case: Calcutta HC to take up hearing on Friday

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(Eds: Updating with fresh inputs) Kolkata, May 20 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court will take up on Friday the hearing in the Narada sting tape case, in which two senior Trinamool Congress ministers, an MLA and a former leader of the party were arrested by the CBI.

The probe agency's prayer for transfer of the case and petitions by the four leaders seeking recall of the high court's stay on bail granted to them by a special CBI court here were not taken up on Thursday, as the division bench presided over by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal did not sit owing to unavoidable circumstances.

The petitions appeared in the list of cases to be heard by the division bench on Friday, which was posted on the high court's website.

As the high court had stayed the bail granted to them till further orders, the four leaders ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former party Sovan Chatterjee who is an ex-mayor of Kolkata -- continue to remain in judicial custody.

The division bench, also comprising Justice Arijit Banerjee, which is seized of the matter, had on Wednesday adjourned hearing in the case by a day.

'Due to unavoidable circumstances, the First Division Bench will not assemble today,' a notice in the Calcutta High Court website said.

The petition of the CBI seeking transfer of trial in the case and the recalling application filed by the four leaders on the high court's stay order on the bail granted by a CBI court on Monday was to be further heard by the division bench on Thursday.

The probe agency has sought transfer of the case alleging extraordinary circumstances wherein West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna in the CBI office after the arrests and the agency not being able to produce the four accused in court physically owing to unruly protests by a large number of people outside its office complex.

The high court on Monday night stayed the lower court's decision to grant bail to the four leaders, arrested and charge-sheeted by the CBI in the Narada sting case.

The division bench had said that it deemed it appropriate to stay the special court's order and directed that the 'accused person shall be treated to be in judicial custody till further orders'.

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 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. PTI AMR NN NN

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