A second Supreme Court Judge has dropped out of a case involving West Bengal in two weeks. Justice Aniruddha Bose, who is from Kolkata, today withdrew from a case involving Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's petition in the Narada bribery case, saying: "I do not want to hear this case."
A bench headed by Justice Vineet Saran will hear the Chief Minister's plea on Friday. "This is a new case which has come to us now. We have not yet read the file. So let us have it on Friday," Justice Saran said.
Last week, Justice Indira Banerjee, who is also from Kolkata, had opted out of a separate case related to violence in parts of Bengal after the May 2 state election verdict that gave Mamata Banerjee a massive victory. A petition asked for a CBI or Special Investigation Team probe into the killing of two BJP workers in the clashes between political workers.
Today's case is linked to petitions in the Supreme Court by the Bengal Chief Minister and state Law Minister Moloy Ghatak challenging the Calcutta High Court's refusal to take on record their affidavits in the Narada case.
The Chief Minister and Law Minister wanted to file affidavits to present their version on the CBI's request to shift the Narada case out of Bengal on grounds of pressure from the state government.
But the High Court said they both took the calculated risk of not filing affidavits at the right time, "now they cannot be allowed to file the affidavits at their own whims and fancies."
The CBI has asked for the Narada hearing to be transferred out citing "mobocracy" in the state. Its argument is based on Mamata Banerjee's protest at the CBI office when four Trinamool leaders were arrested in the bribery case on May 17. The CBI also alleged that when the arrested leaders were being produced in court, the Law Minister landed there with a mob.
The Narada case involves a sting operation by a journalist in which several Trinamool leaders were allegedly caught on camera accepting wads of cash in bribe.