The Calcutta High Court has allowed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to file an affidavit on her government’s version of events on the protest outside the CBI office last month when three Trinamool Congress leaders were arrested in the Narada sting operation case. The court also fined Ms Banerjee and the Bengal government Rs 5,000 for not filing the affidavit on time.
Last week, the Supreme Court stayed a High Court order refusing to take on record affidavits filed by the Trinamool Congress chief and others in connection with the Narada case.
The court also directed Ms Banerjee and Bengal Law Minister Moloy Ghatak to file fresh pleas asking the High Court to reconsider taking the affidavits on record. The top court also ordered the High Court to record the affidavits.
On June 9, a five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, led by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, declined to accept the affidavits filed by Ms Banerjee and Mr Ghatak.
The High Court said the Trinamool leaders took the risk of not filing the affidavits at the right time and “cannot now be allowed to file the affidavits at their own whims and fancies.”
Ms Banerjee had then gone to the Supreme Court against the decision on June 21.
After the order, the Chief Minister and her lieutenant filed fresh applications to file affidavits in the High Court on Monday.
The affidavits contain the Bengal government’s version of events for May 17, when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested three senior Trinamool leaders, including ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and ex-party leader Sovan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada case.
The arrests were followed by a furious Mamata Banerjee camping outside the agency’s office for six hours. Trinamool supporters too protested by throwing stones and trying to break barricades.
The CBI had asked for the case hearing to be transferred out of Bengal citing the protests which the central agency termed “mobocracy”.
The affidavits were meant to counter the CBI’s transfer request.
The Narada case involves a 2014 sting operation by a journalist who posed as a businessman planning to invest in Bengal. He gave wads of cash to seven Trinamool MPs, four ministers, one MLA and a police officer as bribes and taped the entire exchange.
The tapes were released just before the 2016 Assembly election in the state.