CBI registers preliminary enquiry in Narada sting case

The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry into Narada sting operation that purportedly showed TMC leaders taking bribes.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Mar 22, 2017, 20:52 PM IST
CBI registers preliminary enquiry in Narada sting case
File photo - Representational image

Kolkata: The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry on Monday into Narada sting operation that purportedly showed several Trinamool Congress leaders taking bribes.

The preliminary enquiry (PE) has been registered following the directions of a division bench of the Calcutta High Court, comprising of acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborti.

The bench, on March 17, directed the CBI to register the PE and submit its report before the court.

A preliminary enquiry is the first step of a probe by the CBI where the agency assesses whether the allegations have enough material for registering an FIR. If it finds that prima facie it is crime, the agency registers the FIR.

The agency has also collected documents related to sting operation and examined some leaders, CBI sources said, as per PTI.

The Narada sting tapes, which were released to different news organisations before the 2016 Assembly elections in West Bengal, showed people resembling senior TMC leaders receiving money allegedly for giving future favours.

The bench noted that a report by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, had said that the tapes were untampered.

Mathew Samuel, editor of Narada News, had told the court that the recordings were done using an iPhone, which were transferred to a laptop and then stored in a pen-drive.

A committee, set by the high court, had taken possession of all the devices.

Passing the order, the court observed that the conduct of public figures must be beyond reproach.

It said that given the persons against whom allegations have been made are ministers, MPs and other senior leaders from the state, it would be just to direct the CBI, and not a state agency, to conduct a preliminary inquiry.

Meanwhile, earlier today the CPI(M) demanded that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee be brought under the purview of CBI investigations into Narada and Saradha scams.

The party also demanded that the TMC leaders, allegedly involved in Narada scam, be arrested immediately.

CPI(M) state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra voiced the demand at a rally organised by the party's North 24-Parganas district committee outside the CBI office here in Salt Lake.

Mishra also observed that the CBI should be proactive in the investigation into the scams.

"We demand that the CBI should be more proactive. It should immediately arrest the TMC leaders involved in Narada and Saradha scam. The CM should also be brought under the purview of the investigations as it is her party leaders and state cabinet ministers who are found to be involved in it," Mishra said at the rally.

He said, "Now, the TMC is saying it was donation to the party fund. But when the (Narada) tapes first came out, it had said the tapes are fake and fabricated. That means they are now contradicting their own statements."

Mishra alleged that the Trinamool "extending help" to the BJP to form government in Manipur was a glaring example of a "covert pact" between the two parties.

"We hope the political match-fixing between Didibhai (Mamata) and Modibhai will not have an impact on the CBI investigation and the probe agency will be allowed to work freely," he said.

(With PTI inputs)