Speaker Biman Banerjee had asked CBI and ED officers to appear before him on October 4 and explain why his permission was not sought while submitting charge sheets and arresting MLAs in the Narada scam case. The central agencies had moved the high court against the speaker’s notices.
“Enough is enough… from both sides… enough of political wrangling. The electorate has spoken. It is embarrassing. Can you stop it? Can we please tone things down?” Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed while hearing and disposing of the petitions on Friday.
“It is made clear that this court has not decided on the propriety and validity of the proceedings before the learned speaker and all the issues shall remain open to be decided, if agitated by the parties in future,” he added.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said in court that the agencies would file a fresh appeal.
The CBI and ED pleas in the HC questioned the validity of the speaker’s “summons” and dubbed them “unlawful” and claimed they interfered with their “impartial and independent” working. Bengal advocate-general SN Mukherjee told TOI that he had submitted in court that it was “a notice” and did not “amount to a summons”. CBI deputy superintendent of police Satendra Singh and ED assistant director Rathin Biswas had moved the court, pleading that the speaker’s “summons” be set aside.
CBI, ED officers had met speaker after HC order
Five CBI and two ED officers presented themselves before Bengal assembly speaker Biman Banerjee on October 4 after the HC directed CBI officials to appear before him and “respectfully seek” an adjournment of his hearing.
The HC asked the CBI in March 2017 to conduct a preliminary probe more than a year after the Narada scam surfaced in poll-bound Bengal. The CBI filed a FIR in April 2017 and, on January 28 this year, sought the governor’s nod — and not the speaker’s — to prosecute Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar gave his sanction on May 7, five days after the election results brought the Trinamool to office for a third term.