Mamata on CBI’s FIR against Trinamool leaders: ‘Will fight it out politically’
Mamata Banerjee has downplayed the CBI’s filing of an FIR against 12 Trinamool leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy and Lok Sabha MPs Saugata Roy, Aparupa Poddar, Sultan Ahmed, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.india Updated: Apr 18, 2017 00:44 IST
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that the filing of an FIR by the CBI against Trinamool Congress leaders in the Narada sting did not mean that the politicians were guilty.
Describing the Central Bureau of Investigation’s move as a “political game,” Banerjee, who is also the party chief, said: “We will fight it out politically”.
“Because they (CBI) have filed the FIR, does it mean their guilt is proved? Let them (the CBI) first prove the guilt. There is no cause for any worry,” she told reporters at the state secretariat.
Twelve Trinamool Congress leaders, including party MPs and state ministers, have been booked by the CBI for alleged corruption in the Narada sting scam. They were purportedly caught on camera accepting money.
The tapes, broadcast by Naradanews.com just before the assembly elections last year, sent shock waves through West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress but the party posted a resounding victory under Banerjee.
Under the scanner
Trinamool leaders against whom the CBI registered the FIR include Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy and Lok Sabha MPs Saugata Roy, Aparupa Poddar, Sultan Ahmed, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.
West Bengal ministers, including urban development minister Firhad Hakim, transport minister Suvendu Adhikari, environment minister Sovan Chatterjee and panchayati raj and rural development minister Subrata Mukherjee have also been named in the FIR.
Former minister Madan Mitra, MLA Iqbal Ahmed and IPS officer Saiyaad Mustafa Hussain Mirza have also been made accused in the case. Mirza, who was then posted as the superintendent of police of Burdwan, was too purportedly seen accepting money on camera.
The development comes at a time when CM Banerjee has been frequently locked in a confrontation with the Narendra Modi government over a host of issues.
The Calcutta high court had ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry in the matter. The order was challenged by the West Bengal government in the Supreme Court, which refused to provide any relief and gave the CBI one month to file an FIR, if required.
The FIR was registered under section 120 (b) of IPC related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with bribery and criminal misconduct. The maximum sentence for these crimes ranges from five to seven years imprisonment.
The sting operation was supposed to be published in a magazine where Mathew Samuel, the man behind it, was then working. However, the tapes were later run on Naradanews.com where he is now the CEO.
Oppn ups ante
West Bengal’s opposition parties tore into the ruling Trinamool Congress after the CBI action.
Senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader and noted lawyer Bikash Bhattacharya said the latest development was inevitable.
“CBI would have filed the FIR much earlier. But the Trinamool people went to court and gave more time to the CBI. I am sure CBI is making watertight-cases against these people are vital sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act.”
State Bharatiya Janata Party president Dilip Ghosh said the filing of FIR was expected.
“People of whole West Bengal were waiting for this. The probe is proceeding in the right direction. People’s faith in the court and the CBI is increasing,. We hope justice will prevail,” he said.