October 19, 2021

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CBI officers appear before Bengal speaker over Narada sting charge-sheet

CBI officers appear before Bengal speaker over Narada sting charge-sheet

KOLKATA: Four officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) appeared before the West Bengal assembly speaker Biman Banerjee on Monday afternoon in response to his summons hours after a single-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court directed the agency to do so, said officials at the legislative assembly.

Biman Banerjee sent two summons to the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) last month, asking the agencies to explain how charges were filed against Trinamool Congress (TMC) ministers, Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, and legislator Madan Mitra in the 2014 Narada sting operation case without his sanction.

CBI arrested the three legislators and former TMC legislator Sovon Chatterjee on May 17 after filing chargesheet. ED submitted a chargesheet against them before a designated court in Kolkata on September 1.

The speaker sent the summons to CBI deputy superintendent of police Satyendra Singh and ED assistant director Rathin Biswas as these two officers signed the respective charge-sheets, assembly officials said.

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“I was surprised to see the agencies bypassing my office. It is mandatory to seek the speaker’s permission before filing charge-sheet against a sitting legislator,” Banerjee said before sending the second summons to the ED, asking its officers to appear before him on September 22.

While ED wrote back to the speaker saying that the agency does not need to seek his sanction, CBI said the arrests were made after sanction was given by governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. CBI also petitioned the high court.

On Monday, justice Rajasekhar Mantha, while hearing a CBI request, said the agency has to respond to the summons as the speaker is a constitutional authority but also directed that no harsh action should be taken against the officers. The judge asked CBI to file a report on the discussions with the speaker at the next court hearing on Tuesday.

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