CBI Makes First Arrest In Narada Sting Case: IPS Officer SMH Mirza Arrested

BENGLAL’S Opposition parties have by and large hailed arrest of SMH Mirza, 2005 Batch IPS Officer,  by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the  Narada sting operation case. Mathew Samuels, a journalist, in the disguise of an entrepreneur intending to set up some projects in the eastern state, conducted the operation. Some officials and ruling party’s leaders had accepted bribe from him promising to help. Mirza, who was the Superintendent of Police of Burdwan district in West Bengal when the sting operation was conducted, is the first one to be arrested in the Narada case which also showed some lawmakers  belonging  to the ruling Trinamool Congress and others allegedly taking cash. Mirza was also caught in the sting operation conducted by Narada news portal. The IPS officer was produced on Thursday before the designated court in Kolkata by the CBI for custodial investigation. He will be in CBI custody till Monday. CBI reportedly claimed that Mirza was unable to satisfy the CBI officials during interrogation and was unable to explain accepting cash when the sting operation was conducted. Mirza was prima facie found to be involved in accepting illegal gratification.  The CBI is currently conducting voice sample testing of a dozen persons caught in the Narada sting operation. The statement of Mathew Samuels, CEO of Narada News, had also provided vital information against Mirza. The Narada sting operation was allegedly carried out in 2014 but the video of it only surfaced in 2016, just before the West Bengal assembly elections. Some Trinamool Congress leaders are also under the scanner of the CBI in connection with the case. The central agency has also approached Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and sought sanction to prosecute three sitting Trinamool Congress MPs – Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh and Prasun Banerjee  and a former parliamentarian of the party  Suvendu Adhikari  in the Narada sting operation case. Suvendu Adhikari is now a minister in the Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal. The CBI will file a chargesheet naming all the four leaders as soon as the sanction is accorded by the Lok Sabha Speaker. The agency, sources said, may not name Mukul Roy, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2017 after quitting the Trinamool Congress. The BJP leader was examined by the investigation agency in August. Mukul Roy climes he was not shown on camera and had not accepted bribe. All the four leaders were named as accused in the CBI FIR filed on April 16, 2017, after nearly a month long preliminary enquiry on the orders of Calcutta High Court.On the FIR, the CBI has alleged that the sting operation shows Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh and Suvendu Adhikari accepting Rs 5 lakh each from the person, posing as the representative while Prasun Banerjee could be seen receiving Rs 4 lakh for helping his business venture. The videos showed a dozen West Bengal politicians taking money. Two of those TMC leaders are now with the Bharatiya Janata Party—Mukul Roy and Sovan Chatterjee. Another leader, Sultan Ahmed, is dead. Shortly after Mirza’s arrest, Roy was called by the CBI on Friday. While Roy was not seen taking money in the video, Chatterjee was seen accepting it. The others who were seen in the footage include TMC leaders like Madan Mitra, cabinet ministers like Subrata Mukherjee, Suvendu Adhikari and Firhad Hakim, and MPs like Saugata Roy and Aparupa Poddar. The CBI is now probing possible money laundering by those seen in the footage. The sting, however, failed to make a dent in TMC’s political fortunes as the party returned to power emphatically.The Supreme Court later ordered a CBI inquiry based on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) even as the state government fought hard to oppose it. Asked to comment on Mirza’s arrest, Mukul Roy said I was not at all seen taking money from the man (Samuel). He discussed business-related mater with me and I advised him to do that in Burdwan.WB Pradesh Congress Committee President Somen Mitra said more arrests in this connection cannot be ruled adding “The IPS officer is a little one. What about the rest? All of them would have to pay the price,” said Mitra. Politburo Member Mohamed Selim says IPS officers are soft target for probe agencies. The kingpin should be  taken into custody, he added.

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