The face-off between the Centre and the state deepened on Monday with the CBI arresting two ministers in the West Bengal government and two other Trinamool Congress leaders in the five-year-old Narada sting operation case.
They were granted interim bail by the court of the Special CBI Judge (1) that was stayed by the Calcutta High Court which frowned on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dharna at the CBI office on Monday.
The High Court division bench said it deemed it appropriate to stay the special court's order and direct that the "accused person shall be treated to be in judicial custody till further orders". The matter will be heard next on Wednesday.
This came after the Investigative agency moved the Calcutta High Court, stating that their probe was getting impacted.
Earlier on Monday, the CBI had arrested West Bengal ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, and Trinamool Congress MLA Madan Mitra in connection with the case. The agency had also arrested former TMC leader and ex-Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee in the matter.
Soon after the news aired, the TMC supremo rushed to the CBI office at Nizam Palace in a bid to protect her key party members. Mamata's spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut, had said, "Didi (Mamata) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested."
"These arrests are politically motivated and illegal. Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy have been let off though they faced the same charges," Raut quoted the CM as saying.
With over 2,000 Trinamool supporters protesting outside, and citing the law and order situation, the CBI produced the four accused virtually before the court of the CBI Special Judge (1). The court granted them interim bail.
Saying there was pressure on the agency with the CM herself protesting and the Law Minister sitting through the city court proceedings, the CBI approached the Calcutta High Court. In its order, the High Court bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee stayed the bail and fixed the next hearing on Wednesday.
“There was a bail order. Now suddenly this,” said Raut. Following the decision, Hakim and Subrata spent the night in Kolkata’s Presidency Correctional Home.
Meanwhile, in a dramatic move, Mitra and Sovan had to be hospitalised around 4 am on Tuesday, after their health condition deteriorated in a correctional home, an official said. They were taken to the state-run SSKM Hospital as both the politicians complained of breathlessness, he said.