Mamata Banerjee At CBI Office As 2 Ministers Face Arrest In Bribery Case
New Delhi: Mamata Banerjee's ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee were taken to the CBI office in Kolkata this morning and are likely to be arrested in the Narada bribery case. In a snowballing Bengal-Centre clash, the Chief Minister also arrived at the CBI office shortly afterwards. Firhad Hakim, taken away by central security personnel from his home just after 9 am, alleged that he was being arrested without proper sanction. Central forces also went to the homes of Trinamool MLA Madan Mitra and former Trinamool leader Sovan Chatterjee and took them to the CBI office. Ms Chatterjee, Kolkata's former mayor and senior minister, quit the Trinamool in 2019, joined the BJP but quit that party too this March.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had earlier sanctioned CBI investigations against the four.
The CBI will present a chargesheet against them before a special court and could seek custody. If not, the four may have to go to police lock-up until bail is granted.
The Speaker of the state assembly has to sanction the prosecution of MLAs. But in this case, the CBI did not ask the Bengal assembly Speaker for sanction but approached the Governor instead, in January. The Governor said he had the authority to grant sanction not because the four leaders were MLAs but because they were ministers sworn in by him in 2011.
All four were ministers in the previous Mamata Banerjee government when the Narada bribery tapes were shot in 2014. Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee were sworn in by the Governor as members of the new Mamata Banerjee cabinet after she won a third straight term in last month's Bengal election.
The case involves a sting operation by the Narada news portal, in which Trinamool leaders were on camera accepting bribes.
A journalist from Delhi came to Kolkata, posed as a businessman planning to invest in Bengal, gave wads of cash to seven Trinamool MPs, four ministers, one MLA and a police officer as bribe and taped the entire operation.