Updated: May 28, 2021 7:18:01 pm
A five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court Friday granted interim bail to four Trinamool leaders, including two West Bengal ministers, in the Narada case. However, the court said the interim bail with conditions granted to Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Shovan Chatterjee is only valid till the bench gives a final order in this case. The bench granted interim bail upon furnishing two bonds of Rs 2 lakh each.
The CBI can further interrogate the accused but without physically summoning them to the CBI office because of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the court said, adding that the investigations can proceed via video conferencing.
Also, the leaders cannot give interviews to the press on this case or any other legal matters pending on them.
When the hearing commenced Friday, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed grant of interim bail saying the four are influential people and could whip up public emotions again. Justice Mukerji asked the Solicitor General why the TMC leaders, who have not been arrested during the investigation for over four years, should be kept in house-arrest now, when they are required to do public functions during the pandemic.
The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices IP Mukherji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee had Thursday decided that it will hear the recall (of order) application appealed by the four arrested leader’s lawyer on Friday at 12 noon. The four have been under house arrest in the Narada sting operation case after the high court had stayed a bail given by the Special CBI court.
Earlier, after the high court’s two-judge bench differed in opinion on the bail issue, it had ordered house arrest of the four leaders along and constituted a larger bench to hear the matter.
Meanwhile, the CBI challenged the High Court order and filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court. But the apex court ordered the CBI to withdraw the petition and said the hearing will be continued in Calcutta High Court.
The four leaders were arrested by CBI on May 17 morning and on that afternoon bail granted by special CBI court 1. However, soon after the CBI approached the high court which issued a stay order.
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