Narada case: HC to later decide on considering affidavits of

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CM, law minister Kolkata, Jun 9 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday said that it will decide later on considering the affidavits by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Law Minister Moloy Ghatak on their respective roles on the day of the arrest of four leaders on May 17 in connection with the Narada sting tape case by the CBI.

Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta objected to the acceptance of the affidavits of Banerjee and Ghatak on the ground of delay, claiming that those were filed after the completion of his arguments.

Appearing for Banerjee, senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi submitted that the affidavit concerns a person who does not have anything to do with the case.

Dwivedi submitted that the chief minister is managing the Covid situation in the state.

The five-judge bench, hearing an application by the agency seeking transfer of the Narada sting tape case from the special CBI court to the high court, said that the issue will be considered later.

The CBI has made the chief minister and the law minister parties in its application.

It claimed that while the chief minister had sat on a dharna at the CBI office in Kolkata soon after the arrest of the four accused, Ghatak had been present at the Banshall Court premises during the virtual hearing of the case before the special CBI court there on May 17.

Arguing for the four accused - ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee - senior counsel A M Singhvi submitted that except in the rarest of rare cases, a matter cannot be transferred from one court to another.

He said that the only situation cited by the CBI to question the order of the special CBI court in granting bail to the four accused is mobocracy.

Singhvi claimed that there has to be a high degree of interference to prove that contention.

He stated that the special court had noted in its order the submissions of the accused and the investigating agency.

The five-judge bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee, adjourned hearing in the matter for the day and said it will resume on Thursday.

The five-judge bench granted interim bail on May 28 to the four accused who were arrested on May 17 by the CBI, which is investigating the Narada sting tape case on a 2017 order of the high court.

The special CBI court had granted them bail on that day itself, but the order was stayed by the high court, which remanded them to judicial custody.

They had been placed under house arrest on May 21 by the high court, modifying its earlier order of stay on the bail.

The Narada 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