In Kolkata to face police questions, Narada CEO is worried about his safety

Mathew Samuel is supposed to go to Muchipara police station and Kolkata Police headquarters at Lalbazar on Thursday.

kolkata Updated: Jun 15, 2017 12:07 IST
Hindustan Times
Mathew Samuel,Narada,Trinamool Congress CEO Mathew Samuel has landed Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress in its biggest trouble yet.(HT Photo)

Narada News chief executive Mathew Samuel, who conducted a sting operation purportedly showing senior Trinamool Congress leaders accepting bribes, has said he may be targeted in Kolkata by the members of the ruling party.

Samuel told the Hindustan Times he would also go to Kolkata Police headquarters on Thursday, where a separate case of defamation has been registered against him.

He was questioned for almost 12 hours by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday and Tuesday in Kerala’s Kochi in connection with the Narada sting tapes in which 12 Trinamool leaders, including MPs, MLAs and ministers, were seen accepting money. The sting was conducted over a period of two years by Samuel.

Read: Narada case: Mention of Abhishek Banerjee in FIR sends Trinamool in tizzy

Samuel wrote an email to the Muchipara Police, saying he and members of his family had faced “odd experiences” in Kochi and Delhi and registered complaints with the local police.

“I fear a possible threat from those leaders and their acquaintances of the TMC who were caught in corruption exposed by Narada sting operation,” Samuel wrote in the mail a few days ago.

“Under these circumstances, I request you to ensure my security while reaching Kolkata on the 15th onwards,” Samuel added.

He has not received any reply from the police to his request for security cover during his visit on Thursday.

A BJP protest rally in Kolkata led by BJP state president DIlip Ghosh (right). (HT Photo)

The Muchipara Police have summoned Samuel in connection with an alleged extortion case registered against him at the police station. It has been alleged that he tried to extort money from DP Yadav, a former legislator from Bihar.

The Muchipara Police earlier raided Samuel’s office in Delhi. They seized laptops, computer and phones and also questioned other employees of Narada News.

Samuel and family also approached the police in March claiming threats to himself and his family. They said they were being “stalked” and “followed” after the Calcutta high court ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the 2016 sting operation.

Read: Narada CEO Mathew Samuel claims there are plans afoot to eliminate him

A Left rally in Kolkata to protest against the Narada scam. (HT Photo)

The controversy erupted in March last year after Narada News portal uploaded a series of videos purportedly showing a number of high-profile Trinamool leaders, including former and present ministers, members of Parliament and state lawmakers, receiving money in exchange for favours to a fictitious company.

The footage became a big issue during the 2016 West Bengal assembly polls, but the Trinamool managed to retain power despite a vigorous anti-corruption campaign by the opposition.

The CBI filed an FIR in the Narada case on March 16 this year acting on the Calcutta high court order, which was later upheld by the Supreme Court.

The central agency’s officials are learnt to have probed the activities of some very influential people in the ruling party. Bank transactions and wire transfers have also been checked by the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, said an official.

Read: Mamata Banerjee publicly defends the Narada accused

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 in the FIR.

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 Burdwan superintendent of police, was also seen accepting money on the camera.

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 11:19 IST