New Delhi: The political game in West Bengal does not look to be over even after the conclusion of assembly elections as a new power play has begun. Days after the election results, the CBI arrested four TMC leaders in the Narada sting case, which has led to a fresh tussle between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Monday (May 17) discussed the power game playing out in Bengal over the arrest of TMC leaders in connection with the Narada case.
TMC activists gathered outside the CBI office in Kolkata today and pelted stones at the police and security forces. These activists were angered by the arrest of Cabinet Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office to protest against the arrest and shortly thereafter TMC workers also surrounded the building of the CBI office. The police lathi-charged TMC workers.
The gravity of the Narada case can be understood by the fact that Mamata Banerjee herself staged a protest at the CBI office for five and a half hours to rescue the leaders.
The order to investigate the case was given by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar.
The TMC stated that if any investigating agency wants to arrest a member of the Legislative Assembly, it is necessary to get the permission of the Speaker. Moreover, if a minister has to be arrested, it can be done only with the permission of the cabinet.
Mamata Banerjee is defending the accused leaders using these two arguments.
However in 2004, the Supreme Court had said in one of its decisions that if a government prevents the investigating agencies from taking action against its minister, then the decision to take action will depend on the discretion of the Governor of the state.
In simple words, this decision of the Governor and the action of the CBI is constitutional.
What is the Narada case?
In 2014, a journalist carried out a sting operation of 12 TMC leaders. These included 7 MPs at the time, 4 ministers from the Mamata Banerjee government and one TMC MLA.
It was alleged that all these leaders were caught taking a bribe of Rs 5 lakh each. The 12 accused included Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy, who were earlier in TMC but have now joined BJP.
Now the TMC’s charge is that when the CBI is investigating this whole matter, why is it not taking action against the BJP leaders.
The answer is that the CBI has sought action against Suvendu Adhikari, Saugat Roy, Kakoli Ghosh and Prasun Banerjee, but Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has not given his consent yet, due to which the action has been stalled. The CBI needs the permission of the Lok Sabha speaker to take action against them.
Today, a special CBI court granted bail to all four TMC leaders arrested.
However, the bail order was stayed by the Calcutta High Court and the leaders will continue to be in CBI custody till May 19.