THE CBI has sought Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s sanction for prosecution of three Trinamool Congress MPs — Sougata Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Prasun Banerjee — and former MP Suvendu Adhikari in the Narada case.
CBI sources said the MPs will be chargesheeted after the Speaker grants sanction. “Sanction had to be sought against a former MP as well because he was a sitting MP when the offence occurred,” said a CBI officer.
The Narada sting case pertains to some TMC leaders who were purportedly caught on tape accepting money from a person posing as a representative of a private company. TMC leaders had denied any illegality and said the money was received as donation.
While the sting operation was purportedly conducted in 2014, it was broadcast on a web portal, naradanews.com, just before the state assembly elections in 2016. The CBI registered a case in April 2017, and senior TMC leaders, including West Bengal ministers, were booked for criminal conspiracy and corruption.
Among those who have been named in the FIR are: former Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy (now with the BJP), Lok Sabha MPs Sougata Ray, Aparupa Poddar, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, late Lok Sabha MP Sultan Ahmed, West Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim, Suvendu Adhikari, Subrata Mukherjee, former minister Madan Mitra, former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee who recently joined the BJP, MLA Iqbal Ahmed and IPS officer Saiyaad Mustafa Hussain Mirza.
CBI sources said 10 of the accused, including Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Aparupa Poddar, Suvendu Adhikari, Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee, Iqbal Ahmed (brother of Sultan Ahmed) and Sovan Chatterjee, have been summoned to the CBI office in Kolkata for questioning. Their voice samples will also be taken, said sources.
“I have been called. I will consult my lawyer and then visit the CBI office,” said Aparupa Poddar. The others could not be contacted.
Meanwhile, CBI sources said Mukul Roy and TMC MP K D Singh were questioned at the agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday. The maximum sentence for these crimes ranges from five to seven years of imprisonment.
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