The anti-corruption wing of the CBI today said it would submit the preliminary report of the inquiry into the Narada sting operation to the Calcutta High Court, if asked to do so. “As per the court order, it is not mandatory to submit the report to it. But the CBI will do so if the court asked for it,” a senior official of the central probe agency told PTI. The CBI, which is conducting the investigation as per a Calcutta High Court order, has already contacted Narada News CEO Mathew Samuel who had conducted the sting operation on several Trinamool Congress ministers, MPs and MLAs. The official said Samuel, who is resting now after undergoing a surgery, was asked about his knowledge about the entire sting operation through an e-mail.
The deadline to conclude the preliminary probe is Wednesday, he said, adding that if the CBI felt that a cognisable offence was committed by the accused, then an FIR would be registered. Meanwhile, the CBI has collected all the articles and documents related to the sting operation which were in the custody of the High Court. The official said a pen drive, an iPhone, a hard disk and the CFSL report collected from the court were being looked into.
On being told that the West Bengal government and the Trinamool Congress were in the process of moving the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the investigation, he said, “It is unlikely that they will get a stay order. This is not a Constitutional crisis and there is no hurry.” Yesterday, the three petitioners who had filed the PIL in the Calcutta High court seeking a CBI probe — Amitava Chakraborty of the Congress, Brajesh Jha of the BJP and lawyer Akshay Sarengi — were called to the CBI office here.
The CBI is now going through the court order on former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, on whom Narada News had conducted a similar sting operation, said the official. The only difference is that Laxman was not a public servant at the time of the sting operation, unlike the accused in the current case, as far as attracting the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act is concerned, he added. Among the accused in the current case are West Bengal ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Sovan Chatterjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, TMC MPs Mukul Roy, Sultan Ahmed, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, two MLAs and an IPS officer.