Legal experts in the Congress party questioned the arrest of Trinamool Ministers by the CBI on Monday.
Four people including Ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and Trinamool lawmaker Madan Mitra besides former Trinamool leader Sovan Chatterjee were arrested earlier in the day in connection with the Narada sting case where the leaders were seen taking cash on camera. But all were later granted bail by a court.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, in a series of tweets, called the CBI action as ‘malafide’ and questioned the Governor’s power to sanction instead of the Speaker.
The Congress party that had targeted the Trinamool over the scam in earlier elections, however, officially didn’t issue any statement.
“Clear indicators of malafides of Central #Govt &#Cbi re #WB arrests. Necessity of arrest must exist before arresting. Power of arrest never means obligation to arrest. #Narada is a decade old; even tapes are of 2016; matter also came to #SC; why necessity/urgency 2arrest NOW,” Mr. Singhvi said.
“Grave doubt if #Governor, whose partisan conduct is clear, merely cos he swore in Minsters in 2011, has exclusive power 2grant sanction! Why sanction after 5yrs of 2016 tapes & sudden arrests in 2021. Bad #WB election losers? #Vendetta? Electoral verdict 2b reversed?” he asked.
Mr. Singhvi, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Bengal and was supported by the Trinamool, alleged that the Ministers cannot be proceeded against without the Speaker’s sanction and claimed the arrest lacked jurisdiction.
Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said the arrest for alleged corruption is “a brazen attempt to brow beat Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after her triumphant in the recently held Assembly elections”.
“The imprint of partisan politics is writ large in the blatant abuse of prosecutorial processes by the CBI against political adversaries of the ruling BJP. Resorting to arbitrary criminal prosecution and custody of the accused by enforcement agencies, to deprive citizens of their fundamental liberties is clearly against the first principles of our libertarian Constitution,” Mr. Kumar said.
He said the detention militates against recent judgments of the Supreme Court.
“The insistence by the CBI on detaining the accused who are public men of high standing and not expected to tamper with the course of justice is clearly an abuse of authority.”