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Calcutta HC seeks Narada sting video’s raw footage

The lawyer, appearing on behalf of the portal, urged the court that it be given two weeks to submit the affidavit.

TMC bribery sting, Mamata banerjee, Bengal elections 2016, election rally, section of media, opposition parties, CPI-M, Congress, BJP A BJP press conference on the sting row, in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Express PHoto: Partha Paul)

THE CALCUTTA High Court on Tuesday directed Narada News portal to submit the entire 52-hour raw video footage of its sting operation against Trinamool Congress leaders and file an affidavit by April 5.

The court’s direction came after it heard three PILs — filed on March 16 — seeking action against the 11 Trinamool leaders — including ministers, MPs and MLAs — and even a senior IPS officer, who were purportedly shown accepting money in lieu of extending favours to a fictitious company, Impex Consultancy. The videos were released on March 14.

TMC Bribery Sting: CPI-M Questions Mamata’s Silence, Ruckus In Parliament
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAg1LQlq_pI%5D

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Following this, three separate PILs, by a BJP leader and two Congress leaders, were filed in the high court seeking a CBI probe into the video.

On Monday, the portal had released two more videos showing party MP from Arambagh, Aparupa Poddar, purportedly accepting money and former Trinamool state general secretary Shankudeb Panda allegedly asking for a stake in the said company.

The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed Mathew Samuel, who runs the news portal, to disclose all details regarding their company and the sting operation in the form of an affidavit by April 5. Details sought by the court include video footage, identity of those involved in the sting, list of shareholders of the company and its directors.

The lawyer, appearing on behalf of the portal, urged the court that it be given two weeks to submit the affidavit.

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Appearing on behalf of Trinamool, advocate Kalyan Banerjee claimed the video was doctored and prayed before the court that no order be given till the state Assembly elections were over. He urged the court to defer the hearing till after the polls so that “the Opposition could not reap any benefit”.

Claiming that it was possible that the leaders seen accepting money in the video were taking donations ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Banerjee urged the court to consider whether the money received was a bribe or donation. The bench, however, rejected his appeal and fixed April 8 as the date of next hearing.

Meanwhile, senior lawyer Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners, said the case should be disposed of quickly in the interest of the common people. “The people of Bengal should know who they had elected… and can be careful in the upcoming elections…” he added.

First published on: 23-03-2016 at 12:15:07 am
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