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Calcutta High Court orders CBI probe in Narada case

The Narada tapes were released to various news organisations just before the West Bengal assembly elections last year. Photograph: (AFP)

WION Kolkata, West Bengal, India Mar 17, 2017, 07.17 PM (IST)

The Calcutta High Court, on Friday, ordered a CBI preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation in which some TMC leaders were seen allegedly taking money. 

The court also directed the CBI to register an FIR, if required, after completion of the preliminary enquiry and initaite formal investigation thereafter. 

Terming the court order stopping the Kolkata Police probe as "unfortunate", the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, said that the Trinamool Congress government will challenge the order in the Supreme Court. 

The Opposition parties led by the Left Front launched an attack on the TMC government. The Left Front took out a rally demanding inclusion of chief minister Mamata Banerjee under the purview of investigation and the immediate arrests of all those who were caught taking bribes.

"We demand that the CBI should be pro-active. It should immediately arrest the TMC leaders involved in the Narada scam. The chief minister should also be brought under the purview of the investigation as it is her party leaders and cabinet ministers who are involved in the scam," Surya Kanta Mishra, CPI(M) state secretary, said while addressing the rally.

"The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee should stop shielding the TMC MPs and take up an active role. The CBI should be allowed to work freely and the political match-fixing between the BJP and the TMC should not affect the investigation," he added.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice T Chakraborti directed the CBI to take possession of all material and devices related to the sting operation within 24 hours and to conclude the preliminary enquiry within another 72 hours, PTI reported.

The division bench of the Calcutta High Court observed that given the persons involved in the case which include ministers and senior leaders of the ruling government, it would be appropriate to let the CBI and not any state agency to conduct a preliminary enquiry, PTI said.

The court also observed that a report by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in Chandigarh had said that the tapes were not tampered.

The court directed the state government to initiate disciplinary action against IPS officer SMH Mirza, who was allegedly seen in one of the tapes.   

The Narada tapes were released to various news organisations just before the West Bengal assembly elections last year.   

(WION with inputs from PTI)

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