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CBI to chargesheet 4 Bengal politicians in Narada case, 2 of them in Mamata’s new cabinet

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has given approval to CBI to prosecute 4 politicians in Narada sting op case — Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee & Madan Mitra.

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Kolkata: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has given prosecution sanction to the CBI for four senior politicians in the Narada sting operation case — two of them ministers in Mamata Banerjee previous and new cabinet, while the other two are former ministers.

The four are Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee and Madan Mitra.

Barring Chatterjee, the former mayor of Kolkata and former minister who joined the BJP from Trinamool in 2019 and quit the party earlier this year, all three are with the Trinamool. Hakim and Mukherjee took oath as ministers Monday.

The four will be charge-sheeted soon, a top CBI officer said.

The Narada sting operation case dates back to 2016 when all of them were ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, and were filmed while purportedly accepting bribes. The sting operation was carried out by a news portal, Narada, run by Mathew Samuel.

According to the letter that reached the CBI from the Governor’s office on 7 May, the sanction for prosecution has been accorded for “Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim and Sovan Chatterjee”, with reference to the CBI anti-corruption bureau’s case dated 28 January. The Print has accessed a copy of the letter.

The CBI had appealed to the governor’s office for prosecution approval in January, with the agency claiming to have evidence against the accused persons. A senior CBI official said: “We were waiting for the approval. We have got the sanction. We will file the chargesheet soon.”

The Narada sting operation, in which a dozen senior Trinamool leaders, including MPs and ministers, were seen accepting bribes, hit headlines before the 2016 assembly election in Bengal. A year later, in March 2017, the Calcutta High Court directed the CBI to investigate the case. The CBI registered an FIR in the case in 2017 and named 13 accused, including nine top Trinamool leaders apart from a senior IPS officer.


Also read: Trinamool turncoats fail BJP in Bengal polls, Suvendu & Mukul Roy the few face savers


Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee in new cabinet 

The names of Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee are among the ministers who were sworn in at Raj Bhavan Monday.

Madan Mitra, who has won his seat in the recently concluded assembly elections, has not been included in the cabinet as of now.

Chatterjee, meanwhile, is under investigation by the CBI and the ED in connection with both the Narada matter and the Saradha chit fund case. He has been questioned by both the agencies multiple times.

Chatterjee quit the BJP just before the assembly elections, expressing his displeasure over the candidate list.

In a statement on 9 May, the Governor’s office said: “Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has accorded sanction for prosecution in respect of Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee, for the reason that all of them at the relevant time of commission of crime were holding the position of ministers in the Government of West Bengal.”

It added: “Governor is the competent authority to accord sanction in terms of law as he happens to be the appointing authority for such ministers in terms of Article 164 of the Constitution.The sanction came to be accorded by the Governor after CBI had made a request and made available entire documentation relevant to the case to the Governor and he invoked his powers under Articles 163 and 164 of the Constitution, being the competent authority to accord such sanction.”

The CBI had earlier appealed to the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking approval to file the chargesheet against MPs Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Sougata Roy, Prasun Banerjee and former MP Suvendu Adhikari, who is also a former Union minister. They were also named in the FIR and questioned by the central agency.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mazumdar)


Also read: The money laundering cases against businessman & former Trinamool MP KD Singh arrested by ED


 

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