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CBI files FIR against 12 Trinamool leaders featuring in Narada sting

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR against 12 Trinamool Congress leaders in the Narada sting case and slapped sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA).

Reportedly, those who were seen accepting cash in the video have been named in the FIR.

Those seen in the Narada sting video telecast nationwide are some of the most prominent and the powerful in the party – Saugata Roy, Suvendu Adhikari, Sultan Ahmed, Aparupa Poddar, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee (all Lok Sabha MPs), Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad (Bobby) Hakim, Madan Mitra (ministers), Iqbal Ahmed (MLA), Sovan Chatterjee (MLA and Kolkata mayor) S M H Mirza (IPS officer who claimed to be taking the money on behalf of party Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy).

Sections 7 (Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration) and 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of POCA were slapped against the accused. Criminal conspiracy charges of IPC (section 120B) were also held against them.

The Narada scam refers to a series of sting videos shot by Naradanews.com over a period of two years, which show several ministers and half a dozen MPs of the TMC allegedly accepting bribes. It was aired a few days before the Bengal Assembly polls of 2016, leading Mamata Banerjee to allege that it was a result of political conspiracy.

Naradanews.com CEO Mathew Samuel told the media in his initial reaction, “I welcome the move. I have been saying from day one that the truth should come out.”

The TMC tried to play down the FIR.

“The FIR should be not be taken at face value. The party will do whatever is required,” said Trinamool secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee.

But the opposition welcomed the FIR and came down heavily on the government.

“The FIR is reassuring for us. It will settle many doubts in the minds of people (read delay in investigation),” remarked Bengal BJP?president Dilip Ghosh.

“Those who were seen accepting money now officially face corruption charges despite last ditch efforts by the Trinamool supremo to save them. Since all the accused are influential people and enjoy the blessings of the chief minister they must be interrogated in CBI custody,” said CPI-M Lok Sabha MP and Politburo member Md Salim.