Kolkata, Mar 17 : Saying the Calcutta High Court's judgement in Narada sting case very unfortunate, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced that her government and Trinamool Congress (TMC) party will appeal to the Supreme Court against the verdict.
During an administrative press conference at the state secretariat at Nabanna, Mamata Banerjee said, The sting operation was carried out before 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the footage was published just before Bengal assembly polls in 2016 from BJP state headquarter in Kolkata, which clearly indicate that this sting operation was a conspiracy and political vendetta against our party.
This verdict is really unfortunate and disappointing and my party and government are moving the Supreme Court to get justice, Banerjee said.
Earlier on Friday, calling the Narada case a cognizable offence and harmful for the society, a division bench, consisting of Calcutta HCs acting Chief Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty, directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take charge of Narada probe in the next 24 hours and to submit a preliminary inquiry report by 72 hours.
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.
On Feb 17, BJPs state president Dilip Ghosh had told the media that like Saradha, Narada probe might be handed over to CBI.
Meanwhile, Mamata Banerjee again claimed that her party leaders, who were seen in Narada tapes, took 1-2 lakh rupees as donations before Lok Sabha polls and the process was certified by the Election Commission of India.
A huge amount of money was donated during the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly polls. Then why not a probe is announced there! Banerjee said.
After the footage was published, I formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter. But putting a stay order, Calcutta High Court had stopped our investigation process, which was very unfortunate, she alleged.
Welcoming the verdict, state general secretary of CPI-M, Surya Kanta Mishra, said, Since the beginning, we are demanding for CBI probe into Narada case under direct monitoring of the court as state government is using its machinery to hide the truth and save accused TMC leaders.
We will hold rallies across the state and centrally in Kolkata on Friday and Saturday, respectively, to protest against the scam, Mishra added.
Since Mar 14, news portal- Narada News- released several sting operation footage, where TMCs leaders, ministers, MPs and MLAs were shown allegedly taking bribes.
From the beginning, TMC leadership has claimed that the sting footage was doctored and a conspiracy of oppositions.
Following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjees direction, Kolkata Polices Special Investigation Team (SIT) had started an investigation into the matter.
Demanding CBI or ED probe into Narada case, at least three Public Interest Litigations (PIL) were filed before the High Court.
After authenticity of the Narada sting tapes were confirmed by two Central forensic laboratories (CFCL) in Hyderabad and Chandigarh, hearing in the case completed months ago and the order was reserved by the division bench.
Meanwhile, counsels of the accused said that they are moving to the Supreme Court on Saturday against the verdict.
A CBI source told IBNS that a special team of the Central investigation agencys anti corruption unit in Delhi will take the charge of Narada probe soon and the CBI will take raw footage of the sting and other evidences from the courts custody in the next 24 hours.
(Reporting by Deepayan Sinha)