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Narada bribery case: Calcutta HC orders house arrest of Bengal ministers, two others

State ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra, and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee were arrested from their homes on Monday morning.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: May 21, 2021 1:34:28 pm
Narada case, TMC leaders get interim bail, Calcutta HC on Narada case Bengal news, TMC, India news, Indian expressPolice personnel stand guard at the Calcutta High Court during the hearing of the Narada case, in Kolkata. (PTI photo)

The Calcutta High Court on Friday ordered the house arrest of the two Bengal ministers, one MLA and the former Kolkata Mayor who have been held in the Narada bribery case.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arjit Banerjee differed in their opinion regarding the matter and a larger Bench would be constituted to hear the plea.

While under house arrest, the ministers will be able to work virtually, but will not be allowed to meet anyone personally.

“Justice Arijt Banerjee was is favour of granting interim bail while Justice Rajesh Bindal (Chief Justice Acting) wanted house arrest. Now, a larger bench will be constituted which will hear the matter,” Manishankar Chatterjee, the lawyer for Subrata Mukherjee, said.

“Meanwhile, the four accused will be under house arrest with all necessary medical assistance. They will be able to work virtually but cannot meet anyone,” Niladri Bhattacharya, the lawyer for Madan Mitra, said.

State ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra, and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee were arrested from their homes by the CBI on Monday morning.

Presently, Firhad Hakim is lodged at the Presidency correctional home, while the three other leaders are admitted to the Woodburn ward of SSKM hospital.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had labelled the arrests as “political vendetta”.

“The matter is sub judice and I do not want to comment. However, I will say whatever happened to them is wrong. It is a clear instance of deliberate political vendetta. Bobby [Firhad Hakim] and his team were fighting Covid from the streets. He even volunteered for a trial of Covishield [vaccine] with risk to his life. Now he and others are kept behind bars day after day. Three to four days have passed. They could not work for days. I hope we will get justice from the court,” the chief minister told reporters.

The CBI has filed a petition urging the judges to transfer the trial from a special CBI court to the High Court, declare the proceedings in the agency court on May 17 a nullity in the eyes of the law, and conduct the proceedings afresh. The four leaders, meanwhile, have appealed to the court to revoke its stay on the bail that the CBI court had granted them.

The CBI court had granted bail to the four “under the cloud of mobocracy, pressure, threat and violence and is a nullity in the eyes of law”, the agency’s counsel argued. The CBI has made Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, state Law Minister Moloy Ghatak and TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee party to the transfer plea.

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