In another twist in the Narada sting case, the West Bengal Gov Jagdeep Dhankhar on May 10 approved CBI’s request to prosecute 4 TMC MLA’s. The 4 TMC MLAs involved in the case are Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee. The news came one day before 43 TMC leaders were scheduled to take oath at Kolkata’s Raj Bhavan for the new tenure.
WB governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s approval to CBI came the same day when CM Mamata Banerjee announced Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim as Cabinet Ministers in her party. While Mukherjee and Hakim along with Mitra all comfortably won the recent elections, Chatterjee has cut off all the connections to TMC and BJP, which he later joined in 2019.
According to the CBI, all the forementioned MLAs were caught taking bribes on camera in the Narada sting case. While the sting operation was filmed way back in 2014, they were released right before the 2016 assembly polls.
After the approval, Raj Bhavan of CBI said how the West Bengal gov gave nod to the prosecution of the 4 MLAs after CBI’s request. The CBI also showed WB gov Dhankhar its entire documentation that’s relevant to the case. Dhankhar after his assessment invoked his authority under the Article 163 and 164 of the Indian Constitution.
The Article 163 states that-
“If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.”
While the Article 164 of the Indian constitution states-
“The chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.”
After the decision, an official was quoted saying-
“Honourable governor is the competent authority to accord sanction in terms of law as he happens to be the appointing authority for such ministers in terms of Article 164 of the Constitution.”
What is the Narada Sting Operation Case?
The Narada Sting case was a scandalous operation that was conducted by Matthew Samuel of Narada news portal to shed light on malpractices of cabinet ministers in the TMC leader Mamata Banerjee’s govt. Filmed over the course of 2 years; the case was first released in the Tehelka magazine. After the explosive response to the case, Samuel went on to launch his own TV channel in the WB region.
When was the sting footage released?
Although the operation was conducted in 2014, Samuel was patient enough to release the footage at a pivotal time. He finally released the footage just before the Assembly Elections of 2016.
What was in the footage?
In the footage, as many as 12 TMC leaders and officials were seen accepting bribes to return certain favours. The TMC party was shaken and stirred due to this revelation as it was already reeling from the Saradha Group chit-fund scam which collected over Rs. 300 crores.
Who were the ministers involved in the sting operation?
11 Ministers and 1 senior police official were involved in the sting operation. It included Mukul Roy, Subrata Mukherjee, Sultan Ahmed, Sugata Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasoon Banerjee, Suvon Chatterjee, Madan Mitra, Iqbal Ahmed and Farhad Hakim, MH Ahmed Mirza. These ministers and officials were approached by a fictitious company set up by Matthew Samuel.
What transpired after the sting operation was released?
Although TMC faced criticism from opposition and outrage from the masses, the party did go on to win the Assembly elections. But on March 17, 2021, Calcutta HC asked a preliminary investigation to be conducted by CBI. The Calcutta HC also asked to register an FIR against any of the people that were involved in the case.