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Narada bribery case: SC allows CBI to withdraw appeal against Calcutta HC order

On May 21, the Calcutta High Court had ordered shifting the accused leaders to house arrest from jail. The arrest of the four leaders has accentuated the war of words between the ruling TMC government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar in West Bengal.

By: Express Web Desk | Kolkata |
Updated: May 25, 2021 6:05:00 pm
KolkataPolice officers stand vigil outside the residence of West Bengal Transport and Housing Minister Firhad Hakim (File photo/PTI)

The Supreme Court Tuesday permitted the CBI to withdraw its appeal against the Calcutta High Court order allowing house arrest of four leaders, including three from the TMC, in the Narada bribery case.

Transport and Housing Minister Firhad Hakim, Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, MLA and former minister Madan Mitra, and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee had been arrested by the CBI in connection with the case.

On May 21, the Calcutta High Court had ordered shifting the accused leaders to house arrest from jail. The division bench of acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arjit Banerjee differed in their opinion regarding the matter.

Earlier in the day, a vacation bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai took note of the fact that a five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court is already hearing the Narada bribery case and permitted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, to take back its appeal and raise all the grievances there in the high court.

“We have not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case and our observations do not reflect our views on merits of the matter,” the bench said, PTI reported. The bench that the West Bengal and leaders are also free to raise their submissions on the high court.

During a virtual hearing of the case by the Calcutta High Court on Monday, the Solicitor General had urged the five-judge bench to adjourn the hearing as the agency had filed a plea before the Supreme Court. Claiming a “template” in West Bengal in corruption cases involving high functionaries, it added that successive accused had been “emboldened through time due to the magnanimity of Hon’ble courts”.

However, the court decided to continue with the hearing as the CBI’s special leave petition is yet to be listed before the Supreme Court.

The CBI also urged the High Court Monday to transfer the case from the lower court to itself, alleging extraordinary circumstances.

The arrest of the four leaders has accentuated the war of words between the ruling TMC government and Governor Jagdeep Dhankar. The CBI had acted against the four after receiving prosecution sanction from Dhankhar on May 7.

TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee recently told reporters that he had urged party workers to file police complaints against the governor so that action can be taken against him after he leaves office. Banerjee alleged Dhankhar was instrumental in the arrest of three TMC leaders.

Dhankhar on Sunday said he was left “stunned” by Banerjee’s statement.

(With inputs from PTI)

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