In a potential blow to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Calcutta High Court today ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to launch a preliminary probe into the Narada News sting operation that allegedly implicates several leaders of the Trinamool Congress.
A Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborty asked the CBI to complete its preliminary inquiry in 72 hours and file an FIR if necessary.
In March last year, just ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, Narada News had released videos that purportedly showed several TMC leaders accepting cash in return for favours.
A month later, the Calcutta HC had set up a three-member committee to keep evidence from the Narada News investigation ‘in safe custody’.
The Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee had then sought an explanation from the TMC lawmakers shown in the videos.
At that time, CM Mamata Banerjee had termed it as a conspiracy by rival parties to hurt her party’s image. Later, she had ordered the Kolkata Police to probe the matter.
Meanwhile, reacting to the HC’s order, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that her government will approach the Supreme Court against the HC’s order.
Questioning the BJP, she said, “How a BJP state president can tell before the verdict that the CBI will investigate the matter. Crores were spent in Uttar Pradesh, why no probe into this. This should also be investigated.”