"Arrest Me Also": Mamata Banerjee as 2 ministers arrested in Narada bribery case

DY365
DY365
Published: May 17,2021 12:23 PM
DY365

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West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Monday arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office, soon after Trinamool Congress (TMC) ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee arrested.

May 17, 2021: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday arrived at the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office, soon after Trinamool Congress (TMC) ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee arrested in the Narada bribery case.



"The way they have been arrested without due procedure, CBI will have to arrest me also," the Bengal Chief Minister said, according to Trinamool's lawyer Anidya Raut, She spent 45 minutes at the CBI office as Trinamool leaders protested outside.



Central forces arrived at the residences of the ministers and two other leaders this morning and took them away in a dramatic escalation of the Bengal-Centre clash brewing since Mamata Banerjee's election victory.



Firhad Hakim, taken away by central security personnel from his home just after 9 am, alleged that he was being arrested without proper sanction. Central forces also went to the homes of Trinamool MLA Madan Mitra and former Trinamool leader Sovan Chatterjee and took them to the CBI office. Sovan Chatterjee, Kolkata's former mayor and senior minister, quit the Trinamool in 2019, joined the BJP but quit that party too this March.



Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had earlier this month sanctioned CBI investigations against the four.



The Speaker of the state assembly has to sanction the prosecution of MLAs. But in this case, the CBI did not ask the Bengal assembly Speaker for sanction but approached the Governor instead, in January. The Governor said he had the authority to grant sanction not because the four leaders were MLAs but because they were ministers sworn in by him in 2011.



All four were ministers in the previous Mamata Banerjee government when the Narada bribery tapes were shot in 2014. Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee were sworn in by the Governor as members of the new Mamata Banerjee cabinet after she won a third straight term.



The case involves a sting operation by the Narada news portal, in which Trinamool leaders were on camera accepting bribes.



A journalist from Delhi came to Kolkata, posed as a businessman planning to invest in Bengal, gave wads of cash to seven Trinamool MPs, four ministers, one MLA and a police officer as bribe and taped the entire operation.



The so-called "Narada tapes" were released just before the 2016 assembly elections in the state.