West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016

Furore as sting video shows Trinamool leaders taking cash

CPI(M) West Bengal State Secretary Surya Kanta Mishra: "it is matter of shame that this government is still continuing." File photo   | Photo Credit: Sanjoy Ghosh

Setting of a political furore, a 24-minute video of a sting operation, was released by a news portal on Monday, purportedly showing 11 senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders and a senior police officer, close to the leaders, promising favours and accepting wads of currency notes from representatives of a fictitious firm.

The TMC has called the footage a “manufactured video” and threatened to go to court while the opposition demanded the resignation of the TMC chairperson Mamata Banerjee, though she does not feature in the footage.

The sting operation conducted by the news portal Narada News released a finely crafted video called ‘X Files’ on its website. It shows nearly all the top leaders of the TMC — including party vice president Mukul Roy, three Cabinet Ministers and six sitting MPs — accepting money from a person, who claims to have come to Kolkata from Chennai, for favours to a fictitious company, Impex Consultancy. The money ranges from Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh. Within minutes, the video had gone viral on social media.

The producers of the video, well known journalist and former Managing Editor of Tehelka magazine, Mathew Samuel and Angel Abraham, claim that they started making the sting-video more than two years back.

Incidentally Trinamool MP and mining baron K.D. Singh, owns majority shares in Anant Media Pvt. Ltd which owns Tehelka. “The sting has nothing to do with the West Bengal poll,” Mr. Samuel later told a Bengali news channel.

In the first segment, Md. Ahmed Mirza, former police chief of Bardhaman district, who claims in the video to be a trusted aide of Mr Roy, is shown accepting money.

In a different shot, Mr. Roy is seen telling the conduit and the Narada News reporter to “go immediately” to “my SP Mirza” to pay the cash. In another shot, however, he is seen instructing them to pay the money “directly to his office.”

It is not clear from the footage whether Mr. Roy is doing any favour to the Impex Consultancy and the nature of the favour if any. He is also never seen accepting money directly from anyone.

“I am not taking it straightaway,” he says and instructs that the money be delivered to his office in Elgin Road in central Kolkata. In a press conference, Mr. Roy later challenged the content and denied his involvement.

Leaders promise favours

One of the producers of the sting video which allegedly shows Trinamool leaders and a senior police officer taking cash, while promising favours, said the operation was not related to coming elections in the State.

“The sting has nothing to do with the West Bengal polls,” Mathew Samuel later told a Bengali news channel. So far no media organisation or the Opposition has claimed to have verified the authenticity of the video.

In the first segment, Md. Ahmed Mirza, former police chief of Bardhaman district, who claims in the video to be a trusted aide of Trinamool vice-president Mukul Roy, is ‘shown’ accepting money. He claims to have arranged “60 lakh” for Mr. Roy.

In a different shot, Mr. Roy is seen telling the conduit and the Narada News reporter to “go immediately” to “my SP Mirza” to pay the cash. It is not clear from the footage whether Mr. Roy is doing any favour to the fictitious firm, Impex Consultancy. He is not seen accepting money directly from anyone.

“I am not taking it straightaway,” he says and instructs that the money be delivered to his office on Elgin Road in central Kolkata. In a press conference, Mr. Roy later challenged the content and denied his involvement.

The footage however, purportedly shows other leaders, including senior State Ministers, Subrata Mukherjee and Madan Mitra, taking bundles of cash. Mr. Mukherjee allegedly took Rs. 4 lakh, says an off-screen voice.

Mr. Mitra is ‘seen’ reclining on a bed while a hand from the right hand corner of the screen places many bundles of currency notes in front of him. Mr. Mitra watches from the corner of his eyes. After the entire amount is placed in front of him, he is seen picking up the money and passing it to his aide, telling him “Keep the money aside.” Mr. Mitra is presently in jail for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Saradha scam.

The other important leader who is ‘seen’ taking a few bundles is the mayor of Kolkata Corporation, Sovan Chatterjee. Mr. Chatterjee is heard promising to introduce the team from the fictitious company to important power centres “after the election.”


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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 9:43:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/westbengal2016/sting-operation-shows-tmc-leaders-taking-cash-smear-campaign-says-tmc/article8351926.ece

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