Almost two years have passed, but central agencies are yet to act in the Narada sting case in which over a dozen Trinamool Congress leaders, including MPs and ministers, were seen on camera allegedly taking bribe. Following the allegations, central agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), registered corruption cases against all the leaders seen in the sting videos.
The ED and CBI are investigating the Narada case, which was a sting operation carried out by a journalist in 2011 for an English news magazine, and placed in the public domain in 2016, just before the West Bengal Assembly elections that year. The sting videos had shown over a dozen TMC leaders allegedly taking money to do official favours for a fictitious company.
Sources close to the investigative agencies have said that despite having strong evidence against these leaders, alleged “political patronage” has delayed action in the Narada sting case. Last year in April, Chandigarh-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory had said that the visuals and the audio recorded in the tapes are genuine and following the laboratory’s report, an FIR against 13 TMC leaders was filed by the CBI. However, since then, nothing much has happened in the case.
A source close to ED said: “Ample evidence is there against all the leaders seen in the sting videos. The ED has also found discrepancies in the account books of these leaders. The ED has sent notices and also worked on the feedback gathered by the CBI and the I-T department.”
ED officials involved in the investigation said that they had enough evidence regarding the alleged inflow of unaccounted money into the accounts of several TMC leaders named in the sting case and ED officials are waiting for the green light from the ED brass to initiate any action in the case.
ED officials are waiting for the green light from the ED brass to initiate any action in the case, sources said.
According to sources, however, several TMC leaders were sent to jail in the alleged corruption case and some of them are out on bail, but most of the leaders are still out of reach of the central agencies due to “political patronage”.
FIRs lodged by the CBI and ED separately last year named leaders like Mukul Roy, Sugata Roy, Madan Mitra , Sultan Ahmed, Iqbal Ahmed, Kakoli Ghosh, Prasun Banerjee, Subhendu Adhikari, Sovan Chatterjee, Subrata Mukherjee, Syed Hussain Meerza and Firhad Hakim. Mukul Roy has, however, recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.