Political fever has once again reached up in West Bengal. On Monday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested two ministers of the Mamata Banerjee Government, Farhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, in a case related to the Narada Sting Operation. Besides, the CBI has also arrested senior MLA Madan Mitra and former Mayor Shobhan Chatterjee. CM Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office against the arrest of her ministers, MLAs and challenged CBI to arrest her as well.
The CBI recently sought permission from the state governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to probe the Narada case against ministers Farhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and former mayor Shobhan Chatterjee, including MLA Madan Mitra. The governor gave the agency a green signal after the election. After this, the CBI has taken this action.
What is the Narada sting case?
This matter traces history in 2016. Just before the 2016 West Bengal Legislative Assembly elections, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Narada News Portal, Matthew Samuel, created a stir in Bengal politics by releasing a sting video. In the sting, Samuel was seen paying a hefty amount in return for the favours of 7 Trinamool Congress MPs, 3 ministers and Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Shobhan Chatterjee as representatives of a company.
This sting was called a conspiracy by Mamata Banerjee, while the opposition used this stingas a big weapon against Mamta. In 2017, the Kolkata High Court ordered a CBI inquiry into the case, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court. They were all ministers at the time of the alleged crime in 2014.
Which leaders were named in this sting?
Among the leaders seen in the Narada TV sting were the then TMC leader Mukul Roy (now in BJP), ShubhenduAdhikari (now in BJP), Subrata Mukherjee, Sultan Ahmed, Prasun Banerjee, Shobhan Chatterjee, Madan Mitra, Kakoli Ghosh Dastikar, Iqbal Ahmed and Farhad Hakim were involved. Apart from these leaders a senior police officer MH Ahmed Mirza was also shown taking bribe in the sting.
In the forensic investigation, sting’s video was found to be original. This gave relief to Narada TV CEO Mathew from the High Court. It was then reported that the tape was recorded in 2014. Of the seven Trinamool MPs named in the Narad Sting case, six were from the Lok Sabha and Mukul Roy was from the Rajya Sabha. Mukul Roy is now with BJP and has just been elected MLA. However,in the sting tape, he was not seen taking cash, but his name was at the top in the chargesheet of CBI.
Another accused MP Sultan Ahmed has passed away. The CBI has sought permission to prosecute Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasoon Banerjee and AparupaPoddar but the Lok Sabha Speaker has not given approval.
ED sent notice to TMC leaders in November 2020
Before the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal, many Trinamool Congress leaders were on the radar of a probe by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In November 2020, the ED had sent notices to three TMC leaders for questioning in the Narada sting operation and sought documents. Among them, the accounts of the income and expenditure of Minister Farhad Hakim, Howrah MP Prasoon Bandopadhyay and former Minister Madan Mitra were sought.