CBI Seeks Lok Sabha Speaker’s Sanction To Prosecute Three Sitting TMC MPs,  One Ex-MP
The Indian Parliament building in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

CBI Seeks Lok Sabha Speaker’s Sanction To Prosecute Three Sitting TMC MPs, One Ex-MP

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The Central Bureau of Investigation has approached Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking sanction to prosecute three sitting Trinamool Congress members of Parliament and a former parliamentarian of the party in the Narada sting operation case, officials said.

The agency sought clearance to prosecute Saugata Roy, Kakoli Ghosh and Prasun Banerjee who are MPs of the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC. Suvendu Adhikari, 48, is a former MP from Tamluk Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal and he is now the transport minister in the state government.

Roy, 73, is an MP from Dum Dum, while Ghosh, 59, represents the Barasat constituency. Prasun Banerjee, 64, is an MP from Howrah. The officials said the agency has requested the speaker to grant sanction to prosecute the four leaders.

If the sanction is accorded, they may be named by the agency in its chargesheet in the case, sources said. The Narada sting case pertains to some TMC politicians and West Bengal bureaucrats who were allegedly caught on tape accepting money from a journalist posing as a representative of a private company, the officials said.

All 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.

In its FIR, the CBI has alleged that sting operation shows Roy, Ghosh and Adhikari accepting Rs 5 lakh each from the person posing as representative while Banerjee could be seen receiving Rs 4 lakh for helping in a business venture.

The agency had questioned Trinamool Congress’ Rajya Sabha member KD Singh in connection with the case, the officials said. The CBI suspects that Singh had investments in an investigation magazine which had commissioned the sting operation, they said.

The sting was broadcast on various channels in 2016 before West Bengal assembly elections by Narada news editor Mathew Samuel who had provided the recordings to the CBI purportedly showing alleged payments received by politicians and senior bureaucrats of West Bengal Government.

The CBI had booked 12 top TMC leaders, including MPs and West Bengal ministers, and an IPS officer in connection with the case.

In its FIR, the agency said suspect public servants were identified who were shown to have either accepted money in cash given by Samuel posing as a representative of a Chennai-based company or asked him to handover the money to someone else on their behalf.

An FIR was lodged for alleged criminal conspiracy under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with bribery and criminal misconduct. The maximum sentence for these crimes ranges from five to seven years of imprisonment.

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