18 March, 2017
The order delivered by the Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice, Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakrabarty directed the CBI to conduct preliminary investigation in 72 hours and register a case.
Earlier in the day, Banerjee suffered a huge setback as the Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI probe into bribery allegations against top TMC parliamentarians and ministers. The government has also been ordered to act against SMH Meerza, the senior police officer who allegedly figured in the video tapes.
Citing reasons for ordering the CBI probe, the High Court held that "the State Police, are at best, unfortunately, puppets on a string", and it is of utmost importance that the enquiry should be conducted by "a neutral and independent investigating agency".More news: Ravens sign Brandon Carr to four-year deal
Criticising the judgement, Mamata Banerjee said, Im surprised how could BJP state president Dilip Ghosh say that High Court would hand over Narada probe to CBI and he made the statement 20-25 days prior to the verdict was announced. "We demand the tainted ministers be immediately removed from the Cabinet and the Trinamul MPs caught taking money in the footage must step down". The High Court gave the order after hearing three Public Interest Litigations requessting for an independent investigation in the controversy that emerged a year ago in March when the Narada News portal uploaded some video footages purportedly showing some Trinamool Congress leaders receiving money in exchange of favours to a fictitious firm.
The police official was seen in the footage, who claimed to be "key person who collects funds" for the ruling party in the state. "The TMC will fight the order both politically and legally". The Narada sting tapes, which were released to different news organisations before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, showed some leaders allegedly taking money. CM Banerjee has also alleged that the entire footage of the sting operation was doctored.