Narada Sting Operation: Calcutta High Court Orders CBI Probe

The Left Front on Friday took out a massive rally in Kolkata, demanding West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should also be "brought under the purview of the investigation" and immediate arrests of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders "involved" in the Narada scam.

CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta MishraWe demand that the CBI should be proactive. It should immediately arrest the TMC leaders involved in the Narada scam. The Chief Minister should also be brought under the purview of the investigation as it is her party leaders and cabinet ministers who are involved in the scam.

Earlier, the Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty asked the CBI to complete its preliminary inquiry in 72 hours.

Reacting to the news, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said:

“I will not comment on this, we'll approach higher judiciary. Everyone knows that this sting was published from the BJP office.”

Also Read: From Saradha to Narada: The Ugly Underbelly of Bengal Politics

Terming the state police a ‘puppet’, the bench said society at large demands proper investigation on the issue. The bench ordered the CBI to take possession within 24 hours of all devices now in the possession of the court which were used in the sting operation.

Calling it a cognisable offence, the court said the matter involved parliament members, ministers and highly placed government officers of the state, and so a probe by an independent agency was required.

The Narada sting operation unfolded in March 2016, after a website, Naradanews.com, broke the story, just days before the West Bengal Assembly elections (which began on 4 April).

In a 23-minute clip – broadcast widely on both local and national news channels – at least a dozen top leaders of Mamata Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) were caught openly accepting cash from reporters who conducted the sting.