THE CBI on Thursday summoned Trinamool Congress MLA Iqbal Ahmed in the Narada sting operation case, asking him to be present in the agency’s office at Nizam Palace in South Kolkata on June 10. This is the first time a Trinamool leader has been summoned by the agency in the case, in which 12 ruling party leaders and an IPS officer are accused. They were caught on stealth video while receiving cash from a journalist who was posing as a businessman.
The CBI said Iqbal, the younger brother of Trinamool Lok Sabha member Sultan Ahmed, “is a key person in the case” as he had personally taken journalist Mathew Samuel to the party leaders and the IPS officer. “We need to interrogate him. Other persons named in the FIR and who are connected in the case will be summoned in due time,” said a CBI officer from Delhi. Iqbal, who is Kolkata deputy mayor, could not be reached for comment.
The 12 politicians named in the FIR are Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy, Lok Sabhas MPs Saugata Roy, Sultan Ahmed, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Aparupa Poddar and Prasun Banerjee, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, Urban Development Minister Firhad (Bobby) Hakim, Fire Services Minister and Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari, former state transport minister Madan Mitra as well as Iqbal. The IPS officer is S M H Meerza.
Ahmed himself allegedly accepted cash from Samuel, CBI sources said. The CBI sleuths stated that besides the video tapes where these leaders and police officer were seen accepting cash, they have also secured some audio clips and telephone conversations that clearly prove the importance of Ahmed in the matter. “It is also quite possible that besides those already named in the FIR, many other new names might surface. So we decided to question him first,” said a CBI officer.
The CBI has been targeted by the Congress and the CPM in Bengal for perceived inactivity in the Narada case.