Narada case: HC reserves order on submission of affidavits by

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Mamata, others Kolkata, Jul 29 (PTI) The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on applications by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law Minister Malay Ghatak and the state government for submitting affidavits before it in connection with the CBI's plea for transfer of the Narada sting tapes case.

The investigating agency has sought transfer of the Narada case from the special CBI court here to the high court.

As the lawyers representing Banerjee, Ghatak, the state and the CBI concluded their submission, a five-judge bench of the high court headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal reserved order on their application, which was filed afresh following a Supreme Court direction on the matter.

Advocate General Kishore Dutta for the state and senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi representing Banerjee pleaded in favour of allowing them to file the affidavits, which was earlier refused by the high court.

Appearing for the CBI, Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta opposed the prayer submitting that it cannot be allowed after he had concluded his arguments in connection with the transfer petition of the Narada sting tape case.

Annulling the high court's June 9 order refusing to take reply-affidavits of the state, its chief minister and the law minister, the Supreme Court had on June 25 urged the five-judge bench to decide afresh their pleas before deciding on the CBI petition seeking transfer of the Narada case.

Following the apex court's order, the state government, the chief minister and the law minister filed fresh applications on Monday for filing affidavits.

Three appeals including one by the state government were filed before the top court challenging the high court's denial for filing of affidavits by Banerjee and Ghatak in their role on the day of the arrest of West Bengal ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee on May 17 by the CBI in the Narada sting case.

The CBI has made the chief minister and the law minister parties in its transfer application of the Narada case.

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

The five-judge bench of the high court, comprising ACJ Bindal and justices I P Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee had granted interim bail on May 28 to the four Narada scam accused.

The special CBI court had granted them bail on May 17 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

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