The Calcutta High Court today ordered that the four Bengal leaders arrested in the Narada case remain under house arrest for now. The four leaders are West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and former TMC leader Sovan Chatterjee. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested the leaders earlier this week in the Narada bribery case.
Till today, the four leaders were in judicial custody.
The decision was taken by a two-member bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee. While Justice Bindal ordered the house arrest of the leaders, Justice Arijit Banerjee favoured interim bail. Following the difference of opinion, the court referred the leaders’ bail hearing to a larger three-member bench. On the other hand, the CBI had opposed the house arrest order seeking a stay on it.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government and the CBI have been at loggerheads over the issue. While the CBI has made Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Law Minister Moloy Ghatak a party in the case, a TMC leader has filed a case against the CBI for illegally arresting the TMC MLAs.
The CBI has sought transfer of the Narada case outside West Bengal. The CBI has sought transfer of the Narada case alleging extraordinary circumstances wherein Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna in the CBI office after the arrests and the agency could not produce the four accused in court physically owing to unruly protests by TMC supporters.
The Narada sting operation was conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel of Narada News web portal in which some of then TMC ministers were seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of favours.