Arrested Trinamool leaders get interim bail from Calcutta High Court in Narada sting case

Published : May 28, 2021 21:18 IST

Outside the residence of West Bengal Transport and Housing Minister Firhad Hakim after the Calcutta High Court put him under house arrest in the Narada sting case. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

In a shot in the arm for the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, the three heavyweight leaders of the party – Ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra – and former Trinamool Minister Sovan Chatterjee, were granted interim bail by the Calcutta High Court on May 28, 11 days after they were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Narada sting case. The interim bail order from the High Court Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, and Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arjit Banerjee, came with a condition that the leaders will not be able to talk to the media on the Narada case. The four accused also had to furnish a personal bond of Rs.2 lakh each. Earlier, the High Court had stayed the order of bail granted to the leaders by a city court, and later, the High Court placed the leaders under house arrest.

On May 17, the four political leaders were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada sting case in which a video released in 2016 showed them and other top Trinamool leaders accepting cash on camera from a fictitious company set up for the sting operation by news portal Narada News. Though a city court had granted bail to the leaders the same day, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court, in a late-night hearing, issued a stay on the bail. On May 21, the four accused were put under house arrest, and the High Court constituted a five-judge bench to hear the case.

The CBI had moved the Supreme Court against the decision to place the four accused under house arrest, and also seeking adjournment of the hearing of the five-judge bench of the High Court. However, the investigating agency dropped the appeal after a round of hearing on May 25. Violent scenes were witnessed outside the CBI office in Kolkata and in different parts of the State when the four leaders were arrested on May 17. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself had sat in protest inside the CBI office. The CBI sought to transfer the case outside West Bengal, but the Supreme Court would not allow it.