The Calcutta high court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the 'Narada' sting operation of 2016. A division bench of chief justice Nishita Mhatre and justice Tapabrata Chakraborty gave its verdict while hearing three separate public interest litigations (PIL) filed before it seeking independent inquiry into the sting operation.
Directing the CBI to submit a preliminary probe report in three days time, the High Court asked the Kolkata police to hand over all documents of the case to probe agency within 24 hours.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Web portal Narada News had released a sting operation conducted on 11 Trinamool Congress leaders which showed them allegedly accepting bribe. The sting operation video was released by the portal on March 14, 2016 just ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections.
- The video showed 11 Trinamool MPs, ministers, MLAs and even a senior police officer accepting bribe from a fictitious company.
- During the hearing of the case, there were indications that the court may hand over the case to a central agency given that a senior Bengal police officer too was caught in the sting.
- The footage of the video was also sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to test its authenticity.
- It was found to be genuine and not doctored, as alleged by the Trinamool Congress.
- The video caught TMC MPs Saugata Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Sultan Ahmed, Aparupa Poddar, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee, state ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, MLA Iqbal Ahmed and senior IPS officer SMH Mirza allegedly accepting bribe.
- Reacting to the high court order, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the state government would challenge it in the apex court. "Everyone knows that the sting was published from the BJP office. We are going to the higher court against the Calcutta High Court order", she told the media in Kolkata.
- "We accept and welcome the verdict of the High Court. But it is much unfortunate that the court does not allow us to do our investigation," Banerjee said.
- She said during 2014 elections some people offered 1-2 lacs of money as a donation to the party. "The party members did not ask for the money. We came to know that it was pre-planned action. The sting operation was planned by the BJP party and it was officially published news during the time," the CM said.
- "The person who offered the money is equally guilty. It is not a matter of money. Crores of money have been spent in the UP election but no enquiry has been made," the Trinamool supremo said.