Mamata orders Narada sting probe

Kolkata, June 17 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday ordered a comprehensive probe into the Narada sting footage controversy, in which a number of Trinamool Congress leaders were allegedly shown receiving wads of currency notes.

“If anybody is guilty, he will be punished. I have asked the Chief Secretary to order a probe,” Banerjee told mediapersons at the state secretariat Nabanna.

Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee said city Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar will conduct the inquiry.

“After the preliminary enquiry, there will be investigation. Then everything according to law will be done,” said the bureaucrat.

The Chief Minister said the probe will go into all aspects of the Narada sting issue, including whether there was a “controversy behind it” and try to find out all those who hatched it.

“Before the election I had publicly said I would have ordered an inquiry if the election process had not started then.

“However, as we are transparent we formed a three-member committee in our party (Trinamool Congress) on the issue. The panel has left the decision to us,” said the Chief Minister.

“Today I gave a note to the Chief Secretary to start a probe on the entire episode. We also discussed the matter threadbare. A controversy was stirred up by conducting the so-called sting. It was a provocation and conspiracy to create a hostile public reaction.”

Banerjee said she believed there was a conspiracy behind the entire matter.

“We want the truth to come out. We want to know who all were behind the sting. I have seen on a number of occasions attempts were made to defame Bengal. We don’t want that,” she said.

Asked whether the footages which showed a number of Trinamool leaders taking money were “manufactured”, Banerjee said “Why do you want me to say all that? Let the probe be held. The probe will find out everything.”

She said if anybody is shown taking money it has to be proved whether it was bribe or something else.

“You may conduct a sting operation on television or mobile. But lot of issues are there,” she said.

The Chief Minister said as the assembly session was on, she has taken permission from the Speaker Biman Banerjee to make the announcement.

Carried out by a portal – Narada News – the sting caught on camera over a dozen Trinamool leaders including former union ministers, state cabinet heavyweights and MPs accepting money as “bribes” in return for allegedly doling out favours to a fictitious company.

Made public on March 14, barely weeks ahead of the start of the assembly polls, the sting became a major election issue for the opposition.

However, in the results declared on May 19, five of the half a dozen legislators seen in the video won the polls. Madan Mitra was the only one who lost the elections that the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool won by a massive mandate.

Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Sovon Chatterjee and Suvendu Adhikari, who also figured in the footage, have become ministers in the present government.

Iqbal Ahmed, who retained Khanakool constituency, is the only “stung” MLA not to have found a ministerial berth.



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