Calcutta High Court has directed the three-member committee to keep the Narada tapes in a nationalised bank locker till further orders.
The court observed that since the sting tapes created a flutter in society, forensic tests needed to be done to find out the genuineness of the videos circulated which show some Trinamool Congress leaders purportedly accepting money.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A Banerjee observed that since the allegations were serious in nature, investigations needed to be completed fast.
The court-appointed three-member committee submitted the raw video footage and a mobile phone used to record the sting operation before the bench which is hearing a PIL seeking an investigation by an independent agency into the allegations of Trinamool leaders, including MPs and state ministers, allegedly accepting money and forensic examination of the tapes. Soon after the first part of the sting operation was aired in March, five PILs were filed in the courts with the petitioners demanding a CBI investigation. The footage was shown to the media in instalments at press conferences organised by the BJP in New Delhi.
However, the defence counsels had argued in court that the footage was two years’ old and was aired on the eve of elections with malafide intention. Mathew Samuel, the editor of Narada News, handed over the tapes and the mobile phone used to videograph the sting to the committee at Banga Bhavan, the Bengal government’s guest house in Delhi, on Monday. The matter was posted for further hearing on April 27.
The committee formed by the bench includes a CBI officer, an IGP-rank officer of Bengal police and the registrar (original side) of the high court. Samuel had earlier expressed an apprehension that he could be harmed if he came to Kolkata to hand over the tapes to the court.