Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, her law minister Moloy Ghatak and party leader Kalyan Banerjee have been made party to the Narada bribery case by the Central Bureau of Investigation during a hearing in Calcutta High Court today. The agency, which sought transfer of the case out of the state, has asked that the four accused, who were arrested earlier this week and are now in jail, be placed in police custody. In its plea before the High Court, the CBI said it could not seek their custody on Monday “as a result of the terror created by and at the behest of the arrested accused persons” by the presence Chief Minister and the others.
Bengal Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, Trinamool MLA Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee — who went from the Trinamool to the BJP but quit that party too — were arrested in the Narada case on Monday after the Governor gave clearance for their prosecution.
Soon after the arrests, a huge crowd of Trinamool workers had gathered outside the CBI’s Kolkata office and the Chief Minister, who had gone there, had held a dharna at the spot.
The Chief Minister, the CBI said, had remained present outside the CBI office “along with a well-engineered crowd of thousands of miscreants and after ensuring media presence”.
This, the agency said in its petition, was “part of the larger and well thought of design to terrorize the investigating agency and preventing it from discharging its statutory functions freely and fearlessly”.
In the circumstances, asking for their custody and their movement would have led to serious law and order problem, the agency said.
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