Narada sting: Two Bengal ministers spent night in jail as HC stayed bail
West Bengal cabinet ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee spent the night in Kolkata’s Presidency Correctional Home after the Calcutta high court stayed their bail on Monday night in connection with the 2016 Narada sting operation. Ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator Madan Mitra and former mayor of Kolkata, Sovan Chatterjee, the two others arrested in the case, had to be hospitalised after they complained of illness.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday arrested the four on charges of bribery and corruption in the Narada case, triggering fierce protests by the TMC and a six-hour agitation by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
A special CBI court granted bail to the four, but the high court stayed the order late on Monday. The case will be next heard on Wednesday.
Mitra and Chatterjee had to be hospitalised around 4 am on Tuesday. Chatterjee is diabetic, his friend Baisakhi Banerjee said. Mitra had earlier tested positive for Covid-19.
“I am having breathing trouble. We are elected representatives. We are not thieves and dacoits. They [CBI] should not have treated us like this,” Mitra told reporters while being shifted to the hospital.
A jail official said that Hakim and Mukherjee could also be sent for a check-up on Tuesday. Mukherjee had gone to the hospital along with Mitra and Chatterjee but later returned to the jail. “I am not keeping well. I may have to go for a check-up on Tuesday,” Mukherjee told reporters at the hospital early on Tuesday.
Hakim said as the chairman of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s board of administrators, he was supervising the Covid-19 management. “They [CBI] did not allow me to save the people of Kolkata. I was in charge and looking after the management of vaccines, arranging ambulance, and disposing of the dead bodies in the city. I have full faith in the judiciary,” he told journalists before being taken into custody.
A jail official said both Hakim and Mukherjee skipped dinner and took a stroll in the morning. They have been lodged in a special cell.