Narda bribery scandal case
CBI arrests West Bengal’s 2 ministers, ex-mayor
Published: 01:26 PM, 17 May 2021
Firhad Hakim, Sovan Chatterjee, Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee; Photo; Collected
The Narda bribery scandal in the Indian state of West Bengal took a dramatic turn. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided the residences of two state ministers, Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee on Monday morning. Simultaneously, raids were carried out at the residences of Trinamool MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee. All of them were arrested and taken to the Nizam Palace in Kolkata for questioning.
A CBI source, reluctant to disclose the identity, said the agency would file its first chargesheet in the Narda scandal on Monday. Earlier, the four were arrested in the morning with the permission of the governor.
It is learned that during the arrest of Firhad Hakim, there was huge tension between the central forces and the Trinamool activists. At one stage, the Trinamool activists stopped the CBI vehicle and laid on the road. Later, Minister Firhad Hakim himself got out of the car and requested the activists to leave the road.
“I was arrested without notice. We will deal with this in court,” Firhad said.
After the arrest of the Trinamool ministers, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited the house of former Kolkata Mayor and Transport Minister Firhad Hakim. From there, she went to the CBI office at Nizam Palace.
“Firhad Hakim and others arrest was illegal,” she told reporters after visiting Nizam Palace.
Mamata also announced that she “would not leave the Nizam Palace” until the release of the four arrested leaders.
In 2014, Matthew Samuel, the head of Narda News, performed the sting operation. According to Matthew’s plan, the people of Narda News reached out to the Trinamool leaders through an imaginary company called “Impex Consultancy”.
Narda News claims that the fictitious company paid a “bribe of Tk 72 lakh” to the Trinamool leaders to run a business in the state.
Mukul Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Sultan Ahmed, Saugata Roy, Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra, Sovan Chatterjee, Police Officer MH Ahmed were involved in the Narda case. Each of them is seen taking money in the video.
On Monday, four current and former Trinamool ministers were arrested and taken to the CBI Nizam Palace. They were taken there and signed the arrest warrant.
The Trinamool Congress has questioned that despite the names of Mukul Roy and Shuvendu Adhikari in the Narda case, “they were not arrested”. The question for the leaders of the ruling party in West Bengal is whether they have been “exempted” from joining the BJP.
CBI sources said the arrestees would be taken to the Bankshall Court by 2 pm. It is learned that the lawyers of the arrested leaders have already spoken to the CBI officials.
Trinamool leader Saugata Roy said the CBI was retaliating at the behest of the BJP’s central leadership. “I condemn this.”
Asked how the governor approved the CBI, he said, “It will be dealt with in court.”
“Why did the CBI go to the Governor’s permission by avoiding the Speaker of the Assembly?” asked Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee, adding: “It is against the law.”