After two weeks of highly dramatic ups and downs, finally on Friday Calcutta High Court granted interim bail to four Trinamool Congress leaders of West Bengal who were put under house arrest in the last hearing of 21st May in connection with the Narada Bribery Case.
The case was referred to a larger bench as the two judges differed in their opinion in the last hearing. Today a bench of five members including Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice IP Mukherjee, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee heard the recall application filed by the leaders against the stay of their bail.
The four leaders were arrested from their house on 17th May. Primarily a special CBI Court granted their interim bail. But HC stayed that bail order in a late night hearing on the same day. Firhad Hakim was taken to the Presidency Correctional Home while other three leaders Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovan Chatterjee were admitted to the Woodburn ward of SSKM due to their poor health condition. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee labelled this arrest as “political vendetta”. She also raised her voice about the arrest of present BJP leaders Suvendu Adhikary and Mukul Roy (former TMC leaders) who were also seen in the Narada Sting Tape.
Today the five-judge bench agreed to grant their bail on a personal bond of rs/- 2 lakh and two sureties. The leaders will not be allowed to speak to media about this according to the court order.
Court has also dismissed the influential theory pushed by CBI and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. Justice Mukherjee raised a question instead. He said the inquiry in the Narada case started in 2017. “They were not arrested then and probe was completed without arresting them. Why do you think they need to be arrested now and prevented from discharging their public duties ?”
Meanwhile Justice Arindam Sinha wrote a letter to the Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and sharply criticised the HC for accepting CBI’s plea to move the case outside of Bengal. He also criticised the division bench for taking up the matter “treating it to be a writ petition”.He said “we have been reduced to mockery.”
Mr. Abhishek Manu Singvi, representing the accused in the court plead to the CBI officials and the larger bench to conduct the investigation virtually due to this pandemic situation. But court didn’t respond to the mateer till now.