New Delhi: West Bengal on Monday grabbed headlines after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested two West Bengal Ministers and others in the Narada case, in which politicians were purportedly caught taking money on camera.
Protests erupted all over the state after CBI arrested state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra as well as former minister Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the case on Monday morning. The probe has been handed over to the CBI by Calcutta High Court.
Hakim, Mukherjee and Mitra were re-elected as MLAs in the recently concluded West Bengal assembly polls, while Chatterjee, who left the TMC to join the BJP, has severed links with both parties.
As soon as the news of the arrests broke, angry Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached CBI’s office at Nizam Place. She refused to leave the premises and asked the CBI officials to arrest her too. She camped at the CBI office for more than six-hours.
Defying lockdown norms hundreds of Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers blocked the CBI office’s main gate. The agitated workers not only raised slogans against the BJP-led Central government, but also hurled stones and bricks at paramilitary personnel.
There are also reports of protests in several other parts of the state, including Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts.
TMC has termed the arrests a political vendetta. It’s notable that Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had recently granted sanction to prosecute all the four leaders, following which the CBI arrested them.
After reports of protests and confrontaions, the Governor alleged “total lawlessness and anarchy” and warned of “repercussions”.
Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, appealed for calm. “I urge everyone to abide by the law and refrain from any activity that violates lockdown norms for the sake of the larger interest of Bengal and its people. We have utmost faith in the judiciary and the battle will be fought legally,” he tweeted.
The Narada tapes were made public just before the 2016 assembly elections in the state.
It’s notable that former TMC MPs Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari have now joined BJP. They too were allegedly caught taking bribes in the Narada tapes but their prosecution hasn’t been sanctioned. They are now BJP MLAs after contesting the state election. (PW News)