The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday during a High Court hearing lamented that it could not seek custody of the four arrested TMC politicians in the Narada sting tape and bribery case “as a result of the terror created by and at the behest of the arrested accused persons” in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others.
As reported by TFI, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on May 9 had given his permission to the CBI to prosecute TMC leaders Sovan Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Subrata Mukherjee in the Narada sting tapes. However, soon after the arrests, a huge crowd of alleged TMC goons had gathered outside the CBI’s Kolkata office in the Nizam Palace area, apparently looking to frighten the premier investigative agency of the country.
Mamata Banerjee, who had gone there, held a dharna at the spot, contending that the way the ministers were arrested “without due procedure”, the CBI “will have to arrest me too”. Mamata was the one who ensured that a large crowd of miscreants was present at the spot and media cameras were all pointed out at the CBI office.
The mob did not allow the CBI officers to move out of the office and present the accused in front of the court. As a result, they were produced before the special CBI court through the virtual mode on Monday.
The agency in its petition laid bare the truth by remarking that ‘gheraoing’ of the CBI office was “part of the larger and well thought of design to terrorize the investigating agency and prevent it from discharging its statutory functions freely and fearlessly”.
According to media reports, Mamata Banerjee, her law minister Moloy Ghatak and party leader Kalyan Banerjee have now been made a party to the Narada bribery case.
All throughout the coverage of West Bengal Assembly polls, one key phrase that was used in the political circuits was Mamata’s ‘Reign of terror’ and looks like CBI has had a first-hand experience of it.
Just to jog the memory of the readers a bit, the sting tapes were made public before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, and were claimed to have been shot in 2014. The footage of these sting operations showed 12 TMC leaders and ministers accepting bribes.
Some fictitious companies were set up to facilitate monetary transactions to the TMC leaders to gain government favour. Among the leaders caught on camera were Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee, Madan Mitra and Firhad Hakim.
At the fag end of his second term as the CM, Mamata had become increasingly reckless, often cussing and hurling accusations at the Central security forces and reportedly unleashing a cadre of goons to tackle them. The mandate for a third term has only given more fillip to Mamata to ramp up her cynicism. Going after CBI with an unruly rob within days after taking the oath, the coming five years are going to be long five years for the public of West Bengal.