Five-judge bench to hear Narada bribery case today

A five-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court will hear the Narada bribery-related cases today in which four political heavyweights – three of them from Mamata Banerjee Trinamool Congress – are currently under house arrest.

Of the four leaders, Firhad Hakim, a key minister in the fight against COVID-19 in Kolkata, was allowed by the court to work from home. Initially, the three others were in the hospital. They have since gone home into house arrest.

The CBI has submitted a charge sheet against the four in the Narada bribery case in which a total of a dozen Trinamool leaders are accused of either taking bribes or agreeing to do so. Two of them have since joined the BJP but have had no action taken against them.

In dramatic developments through the last week, central security forces went with CBI officials to the homes of the four leaders on Monday, brought them to the CBI’s main Kolkata office and arrested them.

As Trinamool supporters protested outside the office and according to CBI, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat in dharna inside. The CBI special court heard the case virtually and granted bail to the four. But when the CBI sought the transfer of the case to the High Court, their bails were put on hold.

On Friday, the division bench of two judges at the Calcutta High Court could not agree on interim bail and the four political heavyweights were put under house arrest.