CBI quizzes police officer in Narada sting case

Indian Police Service PS officer SMH Mirza, whom then CBI named in the FIR with a dozen senior leaders of Trinamool Congress in the Narada sting footage case, appeared before the agency officials at Nizam Palace here on Thursday afternoon, an official said.

Kolkata: Indian Police Service PS officer SMH Mirza, whom then CBI named in the FIR with a dozen senior leaders of Trinamool Congress in the Narada sting footage case, appeared before the agency officials at Nizam Palace here on Thursday afternoon, an official said.

Mirza, a former Superintendent of Police of West Bengal's Burdwan district, was purportedly seen receiving cash in the Narada sting operation footage and, according to the Narada news website, he described himself as a "key person who collects funds for the Trinamool Congress".

"Mirza has come to our office in Kolkata. He is being interrogated about his alleged involvement in the case," a senior Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official told IANS.

The investigation agency lodged an FIR on April 17 against 13 persons, including several state ministers, members of Parliament from the ruling Trinamool Congress, and Mirza, a month after the Calcutta High Court ordered a preliminary inquiry into the Narada sting footage case.

"CBI conducted the preliminary inquiry into the said allegations expeditiously. Inquiry revealed prima facie material for registration of a Regular Case (FIR) under the charges of criminal conspiracy to commit a crime (IPC 120B) and Section 7 and 13(2), 13(1)(a) and (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act," a CBI press release said.

The CBI sleuths have already questioned Trinamool Congress legislator Iqbal Ahmed in connection with the case earlier this month.

The controversy erupted in election-bound West Bengal in March last year when Narada News portal uploaded video footage purportedly showing the Trinamool leaders receiving money for extending favours to a fictitious company.

Three PILs were filed seeking a CBI probe, and the opposition went all guns blazing on the issue. But the Trinamool managed to retain power, and soon after Banerjee ordered a police probe to find out the "conspiracy" behind the sting.

However, the Calcutta High Court ordered an interim suspension of the police probe.