A day after BJP leader Mukul Roy was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the Narada tapes case, the central probe agency on Sunday took arrested IPS officer SMH Mirza to the BJP leader’s residence in south Kolkata, where an alleged transaction of money between the two had taken place, for a face-to-face questioning.
According to the CBI sources, Mirza, who was arrested last Thursday, had confessed to handing over money to Roy at his Elgin Road residence.
A senior CBI officer, accompanying Mirza, told reporters that they took Mirza to Roy’s second-floor apartment to reconstruct the incident in presence of the BJP leader.
“We videographed the face-to-face interrogation for identification and reconstruction. There are allegations and counter allegations, but investigations revealed Mirza handed over Rs 1.7 crore to Roy, part of which was collected from Narada news portal.”
Sources said the CBI took the decision to take Mirza to Roy’s house after questioning the latter for nearly three hours at its Nizam Palace office in Salt Lake on Saturday.
Sources also said that Roy was first interrogated alone, and then in the presence of Mirza.
On Sunday, a team of 10 CBI officials videographed the entire reconstruction, right from Mirza entering the compound of the housing complex, taking the elevator, entering Roy’s apartment and their face-to-face questioning.
Asked, Mirza told reporters the CBI has brought him to Roy’s house for the reconstruction of the “crime”.
He, however, refused to disclose the amount of money, which he had allegedly handed over to Roy.
“You please ask the investigating officer,” Mirza said.
Roy was earlier informed about the reconstruction of the alleged hand over of money. “He agreed to cooperate with us and this is was why we took Mirza to his apartment,” said a CBI officer.
As many as 14 high-profile people have been booked by the CBI in the case. The CBI made the first arrest in the Narada case with Mirza last Thursday. Mirza was once considered close to Roy who was with the Trinamool Congress till 2017. Roy switched to the BJP in 2017. He was one of several leaders purportedly caught in the sting operation conducted by Narada news portal in 2016.
CBI sources said that Mirza had claimed that Roy had introduced him to Mathew Samuel of the Narada news portal, who had conducted the sting operation. Mirza was the then the Burdwan Superintendent of Police.
On Saturday, Roy blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for conspiring against him. “Did anyone see me take the money. It’s a conspiracy by the CM…she is asking everyone, who is being arrested on corruption charges, to take my name,” he alleged.
In the tapes that had surfaced ahead of 2016 West Bengal polls, persons resembling senior Trinamool Congress leaders and Mirza are seen accepting money from the representatives of a fictitious company in return for favours. Roy, who was then a TMC MP, was purportedly shown talking to Mathew Samuel, the Narada News boss who had posed as a businessman to carry out the sting operation.
Mirza was seen accepting Rs 5 lakh in cash from a businessman in one of the footage. The former Burdwan SP had apparently claimed in the video that he was receiving the cash on Roy’s instructions. —With PTI