In an unusual statement before the West Bengal Assembly, Speaker Biman Banerjee strongly criticised the central agencies like CBI and the ED for not appearing before him and alleged that in the process the probe agencies not only lowered the dignity of the House and its members but insulted the people of West Bengal as a whole.
Speaking before members of the assembly, the Speaker said, “As the speaker of this August house, I am entrusted to preserve the dignity, sanctity not only of this house but also of its members. Central agencies like CBI and the ED have been given enough opportunity to explain their points not once but thrice but they have avoided stating their stance. They have questioned the very authority of the chair”.
The speaker went on to say that the language of their letters in content and tenor had been replete with wild accusations and unwarranted allegations. It was deliberately calculated to lower the dignity of the members of the house.
“It was perpetrated and was done deliberately and wilfully to show disrespect to the house and the people of West Bengal as a whole. Some actions of the central agencies tend to lower the prestige and dignity of the house. As such I have no other option but to put the whole matter before the house,” the speaker added.
The speaker was referring to the controversy that arose when the central agencies like CBI and ED chose to ignore the Speaker who summoned the CBI SP and Assistant Director of ED to explain their stance to charge sheet against three members of the assembly – Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Madan Mitra without the consent of the Speaker.
“The CBI had obtained sanctions from other agencies other than the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. The stance taken by the CBI are not according to the submission made by the additional solicitor general before the Calcutta High Court. The CBI had taken a different stance only to cover up the matter with some ulterior motives bypassing this institution,” the Speaker said.
Strongly criticising the letter given to him by ED that is derogatory in nature and an effort to show disrespect, Banerjee quoting the letter said, “The steps taken by me have no valid reasons which tantamount to interference of administrative justice. This is an attempt to put pressure on the officers who are trying to discharge their duties”.
“All these statements of the assistant director are derogatory in nature, gaining to bring down the repute of this institution and the very tone and tenor is malafide to the speaker in discharging his constitutional duties”.
In a big relief for Trinamool Congress on Tuesday, West Bengal Minister Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra and ex-Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee were granted interim bail in the Narada case registered by the ED. The central agency had registered this case on April 20, 2017, under Section 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. On September 1, it filed a charge sheet against Hakim, his Cabinet Colleague Subrata Mukherjee, Mitra, Chatterjee and IPS officer S.M.H. Mirza. While Hakim, Mitra and Chatterjee have been asked to furnish a bail bond of Rs 20,000 each, the matter will now come up for hearing on January 28, 2022.