Kolkata/New Delhi: A hearing was held on Monday in the large bench of the Calcutta High Court on the bail of four veteran leaders of the state, including two ministers of the state arrested in the Narada sting scandal. A lengthy trial was held in a wide bench of 5 judges – Rajesh Bindal (acting Chief Justice), Arijit Bandyopadhyay, Somen Sen, Harish Tandon and Indraprasanna Mukherjee to hear the case. Arguments were made on both sides. While finishing the hearing of the case, Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal said that the hearing of the case will go on the day after tomorrow. Till then state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, MLA Madan Mitra and former Mayor Shobhan Chatterjee will remain under house arrest. Earlier, the CBI approached the Supreme Court regarding the matter. In the Supreme Court, the CBI has said that the hearing in the Calcutta High Court regarding the arrest of the four leaders should be postponed until the Supreme Court gives a decision on the order of the High Courthouse arrest of the four leaders. Although a dozen flaws were found in the petition, the CBI will now rectify and file a petition in the Supreme Court.
Why arrest was needed: High Court
Here, a bench of five judges of the Calcutta High Court asked the CBI why the accused were not arrested when the investigation lasted for seven years. Why was there a need for a sudden arrest after filing the charge sheet? Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, counsel for CBI, could not give an exact answer to this. He just said that it was appropriate to bring the matter before the court given how the arrest of the leaders and ministers is being opposed. The investigation process was hampered by protesting, could this not be a matter of deliberation? These leaders-ministers were arrested on 17 May.
Request for postponement of hearing for 1 day
On behalf of Transport Minister Firhad Hakim, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata Mayor Shobhan Chatterjee are contesting the case against Siddharth Luthra and Kalyan Banerjee for Minister Subrata Mukherjee. When the hearing began, CBI counsel Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested to postpone it one day. He said that the investigating agency has filed a special petition in the Supreme Court. The convicts Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kalyan Banerjee opposed this. He said that when the matter was told to be urgent, why is it being asked to postpone the hearing. Mehta said that it is difficult to say what decision the Supreme Court will give. A five-judge bench said that there is a possibility of a storm in West Bengal. In the coming days, the court may also have to hear cases related to it. Justice Harish Tandon questioned whether the division bench had directed the house arrest and was opposed by the CBI. Is this why an application has been made to the Supreme Court?
This argument was made in favour and opposition
Counsel for the accused Siddharth Luthra said that the legal process was not followed in the arrest of the leaders-ministers, the CBI wants to avoid a debate on this. In response, Mehta said that the Chief Minister is saying arrest me too. Was this also by the law. I feel that by taking all these things, we should not get down to the level of road-raid fights.
After that, the court told Mehta that we want to know the whole thing in detail. Mehta said that the Chief Minister sat in the CBI office. The public was raining bricks outside. The accused were to be brought to court but due to the circumstances, the hearing had to be done through the virtual medium. Mehta said that the CBI does not just want to cancel the bail but has also requested to relocate the case because of the protests outside the Nizam Palace, as such a situation may arise in future.
95 per cent of investigating agency issues baseless: Singhvi
Singhvi said that it would be considered a good idea not to listen to the accused before giving a stay order on bail. 95 per cent of the issues the CBI is raising in the court are baseless. Hearing the talk of the CBI, it seems that if we had to be under the CBI today, martial law would have been imposed in Kolkata. He said that the CBI is saying that because of the situation, the special court had to hear the case through virtual means. Have the justices of that court expressed any dissatisfaction? If not, why are the accused not being brought to the court of law? The arrest was made only with the permission of the Governor, the Speaker’s permission was not obtained. This is the arrest of the Republic.