Mamata Banerjee says, “Arrest me also” at CBI office after 2 Bengal ministers, TMC MLA arrested in Narada sting case
The Bengal chief minister has started a sit-in at the Kolkata CBI office
By Team Newsfile
Kolkata, May 17: After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office detained West Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and Trinamool MLA Madan Mitra and former Trinamool leader and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee on Monday morning in connection to the Narada bribery case, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office at Nizam Palace in Kolkata.
Reportedly, she has started a dharna at the Kolkata CBI office after her two ministers and a MLA were arrested.
“The way they have been arrested without due procedure, CBI will have to arrest me also,” Mamata said reportedly said at the CBI office.
According to CBI sources, a chargesheet will be filed in the Narada case against the four and they will seek custody for questioning.
A few days ago, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had given permission to the CBI for prosecution of these TMC leaders.
Meanwhile, the main gate of the CBI office in Kolkata has been closed over the massive protests by TMC supporters. TMC supporters have started pelting stones outside CBI office, which resulted in a massive ruckus. More central forces have been deployed to control the crowd.
CBI nabs heavyweight ministers
A team of CBI along with central forces reached Bengal Transport and Housing minister Firhad Hakim’s Chetla residence and took him to the probe agency’s office, the officials said.
“The CBI has arrested me in the Narada case. We will settle this matter in court,” Hakim said.
There was, however, no official confirmation from the CBI about the arrest.Sovan Chatterjee was the former Kolkata mayor and TMC leader.
However, he quit TMC in 2019 and joined BJP and then left the saffron party in March after he was denied a ticket in the 2021 Bengal assembly election.
All the leaders were brought to Nizam Palace in Kolkata as part of the investigation, CBI sources said. “CBI arrested 4 then ministers (Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee) of West Bengal government in a case related to Narada sting operation. CBI had registered a case on April 16, 2017, on orders of Calcutta High Court,” says R.C. Joshi, Chief Information Officer.
Mamata challenges CBI arrest
Soon after the arrest of the heavyweight ministers and TMC MLA, CM Mamata Banerjee has challenged the CBI to arrest her. She said she, too, she will not budge from the CBI office if she is not arrested along with her ministers.
Mamata has started a dharna at the CBI’s Kolkata office in protest over the arrest of two Bengal ministers — Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and TMC MLA Madan Mitra.
No permission of Speaker
West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee said that his permission needs to be taken before arresting any MLA as per the high court. However, in this case, no such thing was done in this case.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had earlier this month sanctioned action against the four, though a state Assembly Speaker has to clear the prosecution of MLAs.
“One needs to take consent from the Speaker of the state Assembly before arresting an MLA. The CBI only has consent from the Governor,” said Biman Bandopadhyay, lawyer and Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
TMC spokesman Kunal Ghosh said that BJP is using the central probe agency to take revenge after their loss in the West Bengal assembly elections.
“The BJP is still not able to accept their defeat in the polls and therefore, they are making an all-out attempt to win… This is a reprehensible act. When the state is fighting the Covid situation, they are trying to create disturbances in such a manner,” he said.
TMC supporters stage protest
Soon after the Bengal legislators and ministers have been arrested by the CBI, TMC supporters have started staging protests outside CBI office in Kolkata amidst a statewide lockdown. The TMC supporters are also protesting in various places across the state.
Meanwhile, TMC supporters have also raised question regarding the arrest of Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy.
Narada bribery scam
The Narada bribery tapes were released ahead of the 2016 state Assembly polls.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March 2017. At that time, both Adhikari and Roy were with TMC. Howeverr, now both the leaders are with BJP with Adhikari being the opposition leader. The TMC has voiced its protest against the move and has called it “politically motivated”.
Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar seems concerned about the situation in Bengal.
He tweeted, “Concerned at alarming situation. Call upon @MamataOfficial to follow constitutional norms & rule of law. Police @WBPolice @KolkataPolice @HomeBengal must take all steps to maintain law & order. Sad- situation is being allowed to drift with no tangible action by authorities.”