NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it clear that only the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will probe the Narada sting case in which several Trinamool Congress leaders of West Bengal were allegedly caught on camera taking money.
Upholding the Calcutta High Court order, the SC Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar termed the grounds raised in the appeal by the government as “most unfortunate” against the High Court order of March 17 and said the plea deserved “outright rejection”.
The court gave the CBI a month’s time for registration of the FIR in the case and said, “A premier investigating agency of the country can’t be doubted like this.”
“We have perused the impugned order in which it emerges that the High Court took into consideration the materials which required holding of preliminary enquiry (PE) at the hands of CBI. We find no infirmity with determinations of the High Court as the rights of petitioners are fully protected. The petitioner will have ample opportunities to assail lodging of the FIR. We are also satisfied with CBI being permitted to carry out its obligation and all inferences and conclusions made in the order may not come in the way of the agency for arriving at its findings,” the Bench said.
Accepting unqualified apology from the State government for raising doubts on the High Court, the Bench accepted the plea as dismissed as withdrawn.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and A M Singhvi appeared for TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari and Saugata Roy and contended that they are open for an SIT probe or probe by any other independent agency but the CBI investigation should not be held as the case is just political rivalry between the State and Central governments.
Sibal said the incident had happened in 2014 but the sting operation was released in 2016 in the run up to the elections in the State and said if the original phone in which it was recorded has no data, then the entire case cannot be accepted.
The Calcutta High Court had on March 17 ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation in which some TMC leaders were seen allegedly taking money.