Three separate PILs — one each by a state BJP functionary, a state Congress general secretary and an RSS activist — were filed on Wednesday in the Calcutta High Court seeking a joint investigation by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the sting video that showed Trinamool leaders purportedly accepting money to lobby for a fictitious company.
Advocates Amitabha Chakraborty and Abbasuddin filed a PIL on behalf of Congress leader Abdul Mannan, while the second one was filed by BJP leader Brajesh Jha. The third PIL was filed by advocate Akshay Kumar Sarangi at the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Arijit Banerjee. All the three petitions demanded that the TMC leaders who were seen taking bribe in the video footage should be barred from contesting the upcoming Assembly elections. The hearing is likely to be held on March 18.
Meanwhile, it was found out that the ED has started a primary investigation into the matter and would soon write to Narada News, the web portal which carried out the sting operation, asking for the entire video footage lasting 52 hours. The central probe agency would also seek details of the dates on which the videos had been shot.
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An ED official said an FIR needs to filed in any of the police stations here for the central agency to initiate a formal investigation.
Congress leader Mannan said the sting was a shame for the people of West Bengal. “These are people who issue character certificates for those pursuing higher education and jobs. If these MPs, MLAs and ministers have such a character, it will be an insult to get character certificates from them,” Mannan said at during a press conference at the Calcutta Journalists Club here.
Mannan alleged that the money that the Trinamool leaders were seen taking was also going into the party fund. “The state police will not initiate any investigation and thus we insist on an investigation under the supervision of the court,” he said.
Mannan, along with former mayor and CPM leader Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, had filed a PIL seeking probe into the multi-crore Saradha ponzi firm case following which the CBI had intervened.
Reacting to the TMC spokesperson Derek O’ Brien’s comments that the source of the money should be looked into, Mannan said, “It is a desperate attempt by the TMC leaders to shake the allegations off. If they are innocent as they have claimed, why are they not asking for an investigation? It is natural that if there had been such allegations levelled, anyone would have filed a defamation suit first.”