The Trinamool Congress will approach the Supreme Court to challenge a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into a sting operation that purportedly showed a string of top leaders taking bribes, party chief Mamata Banerjee said on Friday.
Speaking to reporters hours after the Calcutta high court ordered a central probe into the scandal, Banerjee alleged the scandal – first aired on Naradanews.com in March 2016 – was sponsored by the BJP.
“Everyone knows this that the sting was published from BJP office…we will approach the higher judiciary,” ANI quoted the chief minister as saying.
Calcutta high court acting chief justice Nishita Mhatre and justice T Chakraborty asked the CBI to complete a preliminary inquiry in 72 hours and file an FIR, if necessary.
The probe sets the stage for fresh confrontation between Banerjee – who emerged as the fulcrum of anti-BJP protests over demonetisation – and the Centre. This is the third big scam – after the Saradha and Rose Valley scandals – that involves top Trinamool leaders.
The Naradanews sting operation featured a dozen Trinamool leaders purportedly accepting cash from the representative of a fictitious company. Six Lok Sabha MPs of the party, three top state ministers and the mayor of Kolkata were seen as taking money on behalf of the party.
The timing of the ‘expose’ triggered a torrent of allegations from Mamata Banerjee who described it as a conspiracy. The Central Forensic Science Laboratory has ruled that the videos were genuine.
But despite the criticism, Mamata won a sweeping victory in the assembly elections that followed. The Trinamool Congress is the fourth-largest party in the Lok Sabha and has a sizeable presence in the Rajya Sabha.