The CBI registered a case in April 2017, and senior TMC leaders, including West Bengal ministers, were booked for criminal conspiracy and corruption.
The CBI is learnt to have sought Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s sanction for prosecution of three sitting Trinamool Congress MPs — Saugata Roy, 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 operation purportedly showed TMC MPs accepting money from representatives of a fictitious company for extending favours to it. 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 Saugata Roy, Aparupa Poddar, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, late Lok Sabha MP Sultan Ahmed, West Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim, Suvendu Adhikari, Subrata Mukherjee, former ministers 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 for questioning and to give their voice samples. They have been told to visit the CBI office in Kolkata.
“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 Narada sting operation was purportedly conducted in 2014, but was broadcast on a web portal, Naradanews.com, just before the state assembly elections in 2016. TMC leaders had denied any illegality and said the money was received as donations.
The Calcutta High Court had ordered the CBI to carry out a preliminary enquiry. The order was challenged by the West Bengal government in the Supreme Court, which, in March, refused to grant relief and gave the CBI a month to file an FIR if required. The maximum sentence for these crimes range from five to seven years of imprisonment.