West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and scores of Trinamool Congress workers reached the CBI’s office in Kolkata on Monday to protest against the arrest of four party working including two ministers.
Banerjee has started a sit-in at the CBI office here and demanding from the officials to arrest her. The Chief Minister rushed to the 15th floor of the ‘Nizam Palace’ where the CBI has the office of its anti-corruption cell.
“Didi (Banerjee) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested,” Banerjee’s spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut told waiting media persons.
He said Mamata Banerjee told the CBI officers they have arrested the four leaders, among them two sitting and two former ministers, without the mandatory notice.
“These arrests are politically motivated and illegal. Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy have been let off though they faced the same charges,” Raut quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying.
News agency ANI shared visuals of TMC workers protesting outside the CBI office with party flags and raised slogans against the CBI and the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. They also pelted stones at the security officials outside the CBI office. The security officials had to resort to baton charge to disperse the crowd.
A large posse of CRPF personnel barricaded the central government office complex in Nizam Palace, where the CBI office is located. Kolkata Police personnel were also present there in large numbers.
Earlier today, Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, TMC legislator Madan Mitra and former minister Sovan Chatterjee were arrested by the central agency in connection with the Narada sting case in which politicians were purportedly caught taking money on camera. The action comes as the central probe agency is likely to file its charge sheet in the case.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had recently granted sanction to prosecute all the four leaders, following which the CBI finalised its charge sheet and moved to arrest them.
Family members of the arrested leaders, including the daughter of Hakim, son of Mitra and Chatterjee’s wife also went to the CBI office.
The sting operation was purportedly conducted by Mathew Samuel of Narada TV news channel in 2014 wherein some people resembling TMC ministers, MPs and MLAs were allegedly seen receiving money from representatives of a fictitious company in lieu of favours. The tapes were made public just before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal. The Calcutta High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the sting operation in March, 2017.