Kolkata: Trinamool Congress MLA Iqbal Ahmed, facing probe for his alleged role in the Narada scam, was on Wednesday ordered by the Calcutta High Court to cooperate with the investigators.
Justice Joymalyo Bagchi gave this direction to MLA Ahmed while hearing his plea for quashing of the case registered against him on the basis of a sting operation carried out by investigative journalist Mathew Samuel, who had caught on camera a slew of West Bengal politicians and bureaucrats accepting wads of cash as bribe for extending favours to his fictitious firm.
The CBI is investigating the Narada sting operation on an order by the high court, while the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed separate FIRs against all 13 accused in the CBI case, including Ahmed, to investigate the money trail. Ahmed, who is also the deputy mayor of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), submitted through his lawyer that the FIR against him was without jurisdiction and had relied on inadmissible evidence and, accordingly, needs to be quashed.
The court adjourned the hearing of the plea in till Friday, when it would be taken up along with another petition for quashing of the FIR against Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha MP Aparupa Poddar.
The hearing of Poddar’s petition has been held a few times before this court. Ahmed, the first of the Narada scam accused to be summoned by the CBI, appeared before the agency for questioning on June 5.
Naradanews.com editor Mathew Samuel had claimed it was Ahmed who had introduced him to the senior TMC leaders who he had paid money on behalf of a fictitious company. Samuel has claimed Ahmed had taken money from him for introducing him to the leaders.
The sting videos, which were released by Mathew just before the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections, had created a political furore. The sting operation relates to the secret filming of the TMC leaders and an IPS officer allegedly accepting money from representatives of a fictitious company.
The CBI is probing the matter on a Calcutta High Court order and has registered FIRs against 12 senior TMC leaders, including MPs and ministers and the IPS officer.
The TMC leaders against whom the CBI has registered the FIR include Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy, Lok Sabha MPs Saugata Roy, Aparupa Poddar, Sultan Ahmed, Prasun Banerjee and Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar.
West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari, Environment Minister Sovan Chatterjee and Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Minister Subrata Mukherjee have also been named in the FIR.
Former Minister Madan Mitra, MLA Iqbal Ahmed and IPS officer Saiyaad Mustafa Hussain Mirza have also been made accused in the case.