Kolkata: The Calcutta high court on Friday granted interim bail to two Bengal ministers, Trinamool Congress MLA, former Kolkata mayor arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Narada bribery case. The five-judge bench granted them bail on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh.
They will join the investigation via video conferencing. The four leaders cannot give interviews to news channels related to the case.
The TMC leaders — Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovan Chatterjee — were under judicial custody since their arrest by the CBI in the case on May 17.
The four leaders were placed under house arrest on May 19, following a split in the division bench on the question of interim bail, and the matter was referred to the larger bench.
What is Narada case?
Narada ‘sting operation’ was an undercover investigation conducted by a news outlet which aimed to reveal corruption within the Trinamool Congress.
Between 2014 and 2016, founder of the ‘Narada News’ Mathew Samuel conducted a sting operation on at least 12 TMC leaders and an IPS officer in which they were allegedly seen receiving cash in exchange of extending business favors to a firm.
The company named ‘Impex Consultancy Solutions’ was a fictitious firm forged by Samuel to conduct the sting operation.
While the sting operation was started in 2014, it was not published until 2016, ahead of the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections. The sting was published by Tehelka.
TMC leaders, incuding state cabinet ministers, sitting MLAs and Members of Parliament were allegedly caught on camera, either accepting money or responding favourably to Samuel’s proposals.
The 56-hour-long footage caught included Mukul Roy, Sougata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari, Aparupa Poddar, Sultan Ahmad (died in 2017), Madan Mitra, Sovan Chatterjee, Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Iqbal Ahmed, Shanku Deb Panda and now-suspended IPS HMS Mirza.
While Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari are now in the BJP, Sovan Chatterjee had also joined the party but quit ahead of 2021 state assembly polls after being denied a ticket.