A bench comprising of five judges of the Calcutta High Court on 29 May granted interim bail to four TMC leaders who were under house arrest since May 19. They were arrested by the CBI under the Narada Case on May 17.
The matter was referred to a five-judge bench when the split verdict was passed by two- judge division bench of the court on the interim bail.
On Friday a bench comprising of acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Mukherjee of the Calcutta High Court granted the interim bail after accepting the leaders’ recall application filed by the four Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders – Firhad Hakim, MLA Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukerjee and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee. They were arrested by the CBI in Narada Case on 17 May of this year. Since then, the four leaders were under the judicial custody.
Then, the four TMC leaders were under the house arrest since May 19 of this year. The divisional bench earlier had stayed the bail granted to them.
The bench granted the interim bail only after putting certain restrictions and conditions. This included that the four TMC leaders will not be allowed to make any remarks or statements in press and not to participate in any media discussions related to the trial pending in the Narada Case. The bench also made it clear that this interim bail can be questioned or cancelled if the petition filed by the CBI succeeds without any reasonable doubts in its final order in the following forementioned case.
The court said they have to give a personal bond of Rupees 2 Lakhs with two solvent sureties. The CBI will further continue the probe and if they are called for further investigation, they are obliged to join through the video conferencing.
The Solicitor General of India- Tushar Mehta was representing the CBI and was against the bench decision. He opposed the interim bail which was granted by the court saying that –“the accused are influential or potential enough who could again gather a mob by arousing the public sentimental, which can obstruct or hinder the investigation or the trial.”
Justice Mukherjee asked Tushar Mehta that why the TMC leaders should be kept in the house arrest during the pandemic when they are highly required to carry out their duties and responsibilities towards the public. These leaders were not arrested during the CBI’s investigation for over 4 years after the case was registered.
Tushar Mehta sought two conditions if the interim bail is to be granted, which were:
Senior advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi who is representing the accused, opposed the last condition of the Mehta and said- “As regards the condition of mob gathering, if this court orders that, it will be presumed that they had gathered mob. It is like asking have you stopped beating your wife? These kinds of submissions are made only for the press…”
The bench had passed an order after allowing the interim bail and said that the accused should be present if they called by the CBI for further investigation through virtual mode. Further they are not allowed to give any press interviews or make any public comments in regard to the trial or pendency of case.