Another SC judge recuses from hearing West Bengal-related case
Justice Aniruddha Bose, a Supreme Court Judge, today withdrew from hearing the petition filed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in connection with the infamous Narada bribery case. "I do not want to hear this case," Justice Bose said, according to NDTV. Banerjee and West Bengal Law Minister Moloy Ghatak have urged the top court to consider their affidavits in this case.
Justice Hemant Gupta, presiding over the bench, then asked the registry to post the case before another bench. Now, a bench led by Justice Vineet Saran will hear the pleas on Friday, reports say. "It will be listed before some other bench. Brother Bose has some reservations," Justice Gupta said in the court, according to Bar & Bench.
Banerjee and Ghatak have challenged a June 9 order of the Calcutta High Court, which had refused to accept their affidavits in the case. The affidavits present their stance on the request of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to transfer the case out of West Bengal on grounds of pressure from the state government. The CBI is probing this case.
In its order, the Calcutta HC had said the CM and the state government did not file the affidavits at the right time, waiting for the "arguments in the case to be substantially completed." The court added it could not allow them to "file the affidavits at their own whims and fancies." "It is nothing else but filling the lacunae or supporting the accused."
The appeal before the Supreme Court said the rights of the state government and the Law Minister should not be denied, "especially when CBI had been allowed to file additional affidavits at different stages," reported Bar & Bench.
The CBI has contended that hearing in the case should be transferred from West Bengal to a court of the central agency. It has argued that Banerjee's protest at the CBI office at a time when four leaders of her party, the Trinamool Congress, were being arrested in the case hindered their working and influenced court proceedings in the matter.
The case involves a 2014 sting operation by Narada News founder Mathew Samuel for over two years in West Bengal. The alleged tapes released by Samuel showed a dozen of Trinamool leaders accepting cash as bribe in return for some favors. Four prominent politicians of West Bengal, including two sitting Ministers, were last month arrested in this case by the CBI.
Earlier, Indira Banerjee, another Supreme Court judge, had dropped out of hearing a petition on allegations of post-poll violence in West Bengal. "I have some personal difficulty in hearing this," the Judge, who is from Kolkata, had said.