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HC grants interim bail to Bengal leaders arrested by CBI in Narada case

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The Calcutta High Court on Friday granted interim bail to all four Bengal politicians arrested by the CBI in the infamous Narada sting case. The four politicians include two ministers of the Mamata Banerjee Cabinet—Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, a sitting MLA of the Trinamool Congress Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee.

A five-judge bench of the court has asked the four accused leaders to cooperate in the CBI probe as and when required via video conferencing. The court also asked the four accused to submit a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh each with two sureties.

The politicians have been also refrained from giving interviews to the press on the scam and interfere with the probe in the case. The high court categorically said that any violation of the conditions imposed will result in the cancellation of bail.

House arrest order

The high court had on May 21 ordered the house arrest of all four accused. Notably, there was a difference of opinion between the two judges in the division bench entrusted with the matter.

While Justice Arijit Banerjee ordered interim bail, Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal ordered house arrest. Thereafter, the matter was referred to a larger bench.

Drama over arrest

The arrest of the four politicians resulted in a major drama, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee storming the CBI’s Kolkata office. A massive protest was also held outside the probe agency office by the supporters of the politicians. On the day of arrest, a local court had granted bail to the accused. However, the CBI moved the HC, which stayed the bail.

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Following the drama that unfolded after the arrest of the TMC leaders and Sovan Chatterjee, the CBI again approached the court seeking the transfer of the case outside Bengal.

Narada bribery case

The Narada sting tapes which were made public before the West Bengal 2016 assembly elections claimed to have been shot in 2014. In the video ministers, MPs and MLAs were allegedly seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of promised favours. The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March 2017.

 

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