Narada Case: Calcutta High Court grants interim bail to TMC leaders
Kolkata, May 28: The Calcutta High Court on Friday granted interim bail to four Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders arrested in relation to the Narada case. The court has asked them to submit personal bond of Rs 2 lakh each with two sureties.
The accused were directed to meet the investigating officer through virtual mode as and when required.. They will not give press interviews on pending trial on the Narada case, the HC bench said.
While hearing the case, the Court said, "...our tentative opinion is that we will grant interim bail and then hear the matter. Because hearing of this case will take a week or so."
The four TMC leaders - Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada case on May 17.
The CBI had on Tuesday moved a special leave petition (SLP) in connection with the high court''s order of May 21 that modified its earlier order of judicial remand to house arrest of the four, but later withdrew it.
The four leaders were arrested on the morning of May 17 by the CBI, which is investigating the Narada sting tape case on a 2017 order of the Calcutta High Court.
A special CBI court had granted interim bail to the four accused on May 17, but a division bench of the high court -- comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee -- stayed the decision later that day, following which the leaders were sent to judicial custody.
Differing on the application by the four accused for recall of the stay order, Justice Arijit Banerjee on May 21 favoured granting of bail to the four, while Acting Chief Justice Bindal wanted that they be sent on house arrest.
The division bench then passed an order sending the four accused to house arrest, modifying its earlier order that stayed their bail.
In view of the difference of opinion, the bench decided to refer the matter to a five-judge bench, which took up hearing of the matter on May 24.
The Narada sting operation was conducted by journalist Mathew Samuel of Narada News, a web portal, in 2014 wherein some people resembling TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs were seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of favours.
At that time, the four arrested politicians were ministers in the Mamata Banerjee government.
The sting operation was made public ahead of the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal.