This Article is From May 17, 2021

What Is Narada Case? The Tapes, The Leaders And The Politics Explained

Narada Bribery Case: The Trinamool has questioned the timing of the arrests, coming weeks after it won a decisive victory over the BJP in the Bengal Assembly polls.

What Is Narada Case? The Tapes, The Leaders And The Politics Explained

Narada Case: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee courted arrest after the CBI took 2 ministers into custody.


The controversy over the Narada tapes made waves on Monday as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office in Kolkata and courted arrest after two ministers in her government, Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, were taken into custody over the case.

What is the Narada case?

The case relates to sting operations by Narada news portal that showed several West Bengal ministers and senior officials accepting bribes. Those conducting the sting operation approached the ministers as representatives of a fictitious firm and offered bribes in return of favours.

The sting operations were carried out over two years and were to be published in Tehelka magazine. However, Mathew Samuel, who conducted the sting operations, quit Tehelka and launched the Narada portal.

What was the impact when the footage was released?

The footage was released just before the 2016 Assembly elections and put the ruling Trinamool Congress on backfoot. The sting operations featured footage of several state ministers and Trinamool leaders. Earlier, names of several Trinamool leaders had come up during the Saradha chit fund scam and the sting operations gave the Opposition more ammunition to target the ruling party on the issue of corruption. Despite the uproar, the Trinamool returned to power in the state polls.

Which leaders were involved in the Narada case?

Trinamool leaders Subrata Mukherjee, late Sultan Ahmed, Aparupa Poddar, Sougata Ray, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee, Madan Mitra, Firhad Hakim and Iqbal Ahmed were seen in the Narada footage. BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari, then with the Trinamool, also featured in the footage. So did former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee, who quit the Trinamool to join BJP before quitting it too. IPS officer MH Ahmed Mirza also featured in the sting.

How did the investigation proceed?

After the footage emerged, the state government registered a case against Samuel under charges of forgery and defamation. The high court stayed the probe. In 2017, the high court ordered a preliminary investigation by the CBI.

The CBI on April 16, 2017, filed an FIR against 12 Trinamool leaders for criminal conspiracy and corruption.

In January this year, the CBI sought sanction from Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar to move against Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee. Three of them were ministers then and one was an MLA. The Governor last week gave his sanction. The matter is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

What is the Trinamool Congress's stand on the Narada tapes?

The Trinamool has maintained that the centre is using agencies to pursue political vendetta against the opposition party leaders. They have also pointed to the lack of progress in the complaints against the accused who subsequently joined the BJP -- Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari. The party has now questioned the timing of the arrests today, in view of the pandemic and weeks after the Trinamool won a decisive victory over the BJP in the recent state polls.