WB Governor accords sanction against 3 sitting MLAs of TMC in Narada sting
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar on Friday accorded prosecution sanction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against three current MLAs - Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, and one former party leader Suvon Chatterjee, in the Narada sting operation case, a development which will empower the central agency to file a chargesheet against them, people familiar with the development told HT.
Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim are set to take oath as ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet on Monday. Madan Mitra won the election last week from Kamarhati seat in Bengal.
Apart from the sanction granted by the Bengal governor on Friday against three TMC MLAs and disgruntled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Suvon Chatterjee, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has also granted sanction against a 2004 batch promotee IPS officer – SMH Mirza in the Narada case. Mirza was arrested by CBI in September 2019 in the case.
When contacted about the West Bengal governor giving sanction against three TMC MLAs, party’s Member of Parliament Saugata Roy said – “I cannot comment on it. It’s a legal matter”.
Officers cited above said CBI had sent a request against the four state leaders in January this year after completion of investigation.
A statement issued by Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, said “Governor of West Bengal accorded sanction for prosecution in respect of Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Suvon Chatterjee, for the reason that all of them at the relevant time of commission of crime were holding the position of ministers in the government of West Bengal.”
The Governor’s office added that he is the competent authority to accord prosecution sanction against ministers in the state. “The impression generated in some quarters of the media that sanction has come to be accorded because these persons at the relevant time were members of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly is factually untenable. The premise of the sanction as indicated is that these persons at the relevant point of time of commission of crime were holding the position of ministers in the government of West Bengal,” added the Raj Bhavan statement.
The case pertains to about a dozen TMC politicians and West Bengal bureaucrats allegedly caught on tape accepting money from a journalist posing as a representative of a private company ahead of the assembly election in 2016. CBI had registered a First Information Report (FIR) in April 2017 in the matter against 12 TMC leaders on the orders of the Calcutta High Court.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankar’s sanction to prosecute three TMC MLAs and Suvon Chatterjee comes at a time when CBI’s request to prosecute three Trinamool MPs - Saugata Roy, Prasun Banerjee, and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and former TMC parliamentarian - Suvendu Adhikari, who joined BJP and fought and won the Nandigram seat against Mamata Banerjee, is pending with the Lok Sabha speaker since April 2019.
According to section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, prosecution sanction is mandatory before filing a chargesheet against a public servant else courts won’t take cognizance of the charges.