Monday, 17 April 2017

Narada sting operation: CBI lodges FIR against 12 TMC leaders and one IPS officer

After completing its preliminary enquiry into Narada sting operation, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday registered an FIR against 13 persons, who were seen taking bribes in the sting footage, in New Delhi, officials said.

According to CBI sources, the central probe agency has lodged the FIR under IPC section 120B (Criminal conspiracy) and several sections of Prevention of Corruption Act against as many as 12 influential leaders, cabinet ministers, MPs and MLAs of West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress, including Mukul Roy, Firhad (Bobby) Hakim, Sultan Ahmed, Sougata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Aparupa Poddar, Prasun Banerjee, Madan Mitra, Shovan Chatterjee, Subrata Mukherjee, Suvendu Adhikari and Iqbal Ahmed, and senior IPS officer S.M.H. Mirza.

Besides mentioning these 13 names in the FIR, the CBI has written 'and others' at the end to add more names, who were involved in the scandal but were not caught in the sting video, there in future, a source claimed.

However, a CBI official said that a special investigating team is being constituted in New Delhi to probe the matter.

"We have registered the case as we found the sting footage genuine after the primary enquiry and all persons, named in the FIR, will be called soon for interrogation," the official said.

Reacting to this major development in the scam investigation, Narada News's CEO Mathew Samuel, who carried out the entire sting operation: "It's a welcoming move by CBI and the truth will come to light after a proper investigation."

"As a journalist I did the sting operation. I didn't have any personal conspiracy against Trinamool Congress (TMC) and its leaders," Samuel added.
Earlier on Mar 17, a division bench, comprising of Calcutta HC's acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty, directed the CBI to begin probe into Narada sting case in next 24 hours and to submit the preliminary report by 72 hours.

Days later, TMC leaders and the state government moved to the Supreme Court against Calcutta High Court's order.

Rejecting the appeal, country's apex court directed the CBI to continue investigation into it and extended Calcutta HC's 3-day deadline for CBI to 30 days.

Since Mar 14 last year, news portal- Narada News- released several sting operation footage, where TMC's leaders, ministers, MPs and MLAs were exposed while allegedly taking bribes.

From the beginning, TMC leaderships had claimed that the sting footage was doctored and conspiracy of oppositions.  

Following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's direction, Kolkata Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) had started investigation into the matter.

Demanding CBI or ED probe into Narada case, at least three Public Interest Litigations (PIL) were filed before the High Court.

After authenticity of the Narada sting tapes were confirmed by two Central forensic laboratories (CFCL) in Hyderabad and Chandigarh, hearing in the case completed months ago and the order was reserved by the division bench.