The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday asked Mathew Samuel, head of Naradanews.com, to appear before the agency in Kolkata on or before May 19 for questioning in connection with the sting video tapes in which 12 Trinamool leaders, including MPs, MLAs and ministers, were seen accepting money.
Samuel handed the money and conducted the sting operation with secret cameras in 2014. Acting under a Calcutta high court order, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court, the CBI filed the FIR in Narada case on March 16.
Samuel, however, informed the agency on Tuesday that he would not be able to appear in Kolkata because he was indisposed and would be undergoing a third surgery in Kochi on May 17.
On Wednesday, CBI also questioned Congress leaders Amitava Chakraborty, who filed a public interest litigation in Calcutta high court seeking CBI inquiry. The sleuths asked him why he moved court.
The Enforcement Directorate, too, had earlier asked Samuel to appear before it on May 18 in connection with the same case. He told the ED that it would not be possible for him to travel and attached a medical certificate with his reply.
On Tuesday, the anti-corruption branch of the CBI sent a notice under Section 160 Criminal Procedure Code to Samuel asking him to be present at the CBI, ACB office at Nizam Palace, Kolkata, as “he was acquainted with the circumstances of the case.”
Samuel informed the agency that he would be undergoing the third surgery at PVS Hospital in Kochi under the supervision of Dr Satheesh Iype, a gastrointestinal surgeon.
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 and Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee and panchayati raj and rural development minister Subrata Mukherjee have also been named.
Former minister Madan Mitra, MLA Iqbal Ahmed and IPS officer Saiyaad Mustafa Hussain Mirza have also been named as accused under Prevention of Corruption Act. Mirza, who was posted as the superintendent of police, Burdwan, was seen accepting money on camera.