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Calcutta High Court stays order granting bail to TMC leaders; chides Mamata for leading mob

In a late-night hearing, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee stayed the order of the Special CBI court following a plea moved by the CBI seeking transfer of case trial from West Bengal.

Calcutta High Court stays order granting bail to TMC leaders-VPN
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Kolkata, First Published May 18, 2021, 9:38 AM IST
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In a major setback to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee late Monday night, the Calcutta High Court stayed the interim bail order granted to state ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra and former TMC leader Sovan Chatterjee in the Narada bribery case.

In a late-night hearing, the bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee stayed the Special CBI court order following a plea moved by the CBI seeking transfer of case trial from West Bengal.

The court rejected the state government's claims that the agency had violated constitutional norms by not seeking permission from the Assembly Speaker before rounding up the leaders.

The bench asserted that Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was the competent authority to sanction the prosecution of the leaders by invoking his powers under Articles 163 and 164 of the Constitution. 

West Bengal Speaker Biman Banerjee claimed throughout the day that the arrests were illegal as the CBI had not sought his permission. 

However, The bench noted, "Sanction of prosecution was granted by the Competent Authority and four accused were arrested in the morning today". 

The bench heard Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta's contention Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded their unconditional release. The state Advocate General did not deny the fact that she was present at the CBI office along with supporters. 

Besides, the counsel for the CBI stated that the state law minister and TMC supporters mobbed the court where the accused were to be presented along with the charge sheet. 

The Law Minister remained in the Court complex throughout the day till the arguments were heard.

The court said in its order that people's confidence in the justice system would be eroded if such incidents are allowed to happen in the matters where political leaders are arrested and are to be produced in the court. 

"Public trust and confidence in the judicial system is more important, it being the last resort. They may have a feeling that it is not rule of law which prevails but it is a mob which has an upper hand and especially in a case where it is led by the chief minister of the state in the office of CBI and by the law minister of the state in the court complex. If the parties to litigation believe in the rule of law, such a system is not followed," the order read. 

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