Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court ordered Friday house arrest of four political leaders, including two Bengal ministers. The political leaders were held in the Narada sting tapes case earlier in the week. The judges of the division bench – presided by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal – differed in opinion over vacating a stay given by it on bail granted by a special CBI court to ministers Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee.
The bench, also comprising Justice Arijit Banerjee, finally directed that the leaders, placed under judicial remand so far, will remain in house confinement for now.
It also decided to refer the matter to a different bench owing to difference of opinion between Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee. Hearing in the case is still in progress following prayers from both sides for further arguments on the court’s house arrest order.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, has pleaded for a stay on the execution of the order.
The four leaders were arrested Monday morning by the CBI in connection with its probe into the Narada sting tape case. The high court had Monday night stayed the lower court’s decision to grant bail to the four leaders.
Sources said that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is planning to move Supreme Court on the issue.
The high court bench also did not make any observations on the CBI plea to transfer the case to a different state.
Representing three of the TMC leaders and two ministers, senior advocate and Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee said that house arrest will hamper work against Covid-19. He pointed out that Hakim is the chairperson of the committee formed to fight Covid-19 in West Bengal. He pointed out that it will not be possible for Hakim to carry out his functions while put under house arrest.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta representing the CBI said that Hakim can always carry out his functions from the confinement of his home.