Calcutta HC refuses CBI plea to adjourn Narada case

The Calcutta High Court on Monday refused a prayer by the Central Bureau of Investigation to adjourn the Narada case and a five-judge Bench heard the case for more than three hours before deciding to have the next hearing on Wednesday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, prayed for adjournment citing that the agency has filed a special leave petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court on the May 21 orders issued by the High Court.

On May 21, Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee referred the Narada case to a larger Bench and directed that the four held by the agency on May 17 in Narada case be placed under house arrest.

‘Extraordinary circumstances’

During the hearing before the five-judge Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee on Monday, the CBI sought transfer of the case alleging extraordinary circumstances. The agency claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna at the CBI office after the arrests were made.

Four political heavyweights including two Ministers, Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former Minister Sovan Chatterjee were arrested on May 17 by the CBI in connection with the Narada Case. The case involves a sting operation where several political functionaries were seen accepting cash on camera.

Hours after the arrest on May 17, the special court gave bail to the four accused, which was stayed by the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee. On May 21, the matter was sent before a larger Bench as the two judges differed on granting bail.

During the hearing, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it was unbecoming of the CBI to seek adjournment. He questioned as to how did the hearing cause prejudice to the Bench. Justice I.P. Mukherjee pointed out that a cyclone was going to hit the State and the Bench might not sit for next few days.

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