Narada sting: ED chargesheet names WB ministers, TMC MLA
The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday named two West Bengal ministers and a Trinamool Congress MLA in its chargesheet in the Narada sting case. The two ministers are Transport & Housing Minister Firhad Hakim, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee. TMC MLA Madan Mitra, ex-Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, and suspended IPS officer SMH Mirza have also been named in the chargesheet. Here are more details.
Court issued summons to leaders, sought their appearance in November
The chargesheet was submitted before a special PMLA court that ordered the issuance of summons to the leaders and the appearance of the accused on November 16. The court directed that summons to Hakim, Mukherjee, and Mitra be sent through the office of WB Assembly Speaker as they are serving legislators. Summons to Mirza and Chatterjee would be served directly at their addresses.
What did the ED say?
The ED asked for awarding maximum punishment to the accused of alleged money laundering. It said the accused, despite being ministers and public servants, accepted bribes to favor a company (fictitious). Money laundering was done to convert this bribe amount into white money, it added.
CBI had made arrests earlier in May
This development comes months after the same four TMC leaders were arrested by the CBI in May. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had described the arrests as "vendetta politics." She had also spent six hours at the CBI's Kolkata office to protest against the arrests. "The way they have been arrested without due procedure, CBI will have to arrest me also," she had said.
What happened after the arrest?
On the day of the arrest, a special CBI court granted bail to all four. However, the Calcutta High Court stayed the bail order. They were remanded to judicial custody. Four days later, the HC modified its order and put them under house arrest.
What is the Narada sting case?
The Narada sting was conducted by Narada news founder Mathew Samuel for over two years in West Bengal. In that sting, Samuel had formed a fictitious company and approached several TMC ministers offering bribes in return for favors. The leaders were accused of accepting Rs. 4 to 5 lakh as bribes. The tapes were released just before the 2016 state Assembly elections.
Who all featured in the Narada sting?
Trinamool leaders Subrata Mukherjee, Aparupa Poddar, Sougata Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee, Madan Mitra, Firhad Hakim, and Iqbal Ahmed were seen in the Narada footage. Former TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari, who jumped ship to BJP, had also featured in the sting.