The Trinamool Congress MP from Barasat in West Bengal, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, who is amongst the ten leaders and ministers of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress who are being probed in the Narada Sting Operation Case by the CBI, has accepted taking money from Samuel Mathew, the editor of Narada News.
As reported by Aaj Tak, Ghosh Dastidar, however, denied receiving this money as a kickback, instead said that she accepted the money as a party donation and also had a receipt for the same. “All parties take donations to contest elections. I also took money to contest the election as a donation and informed the Election Commission also”, said the TMC MP.
In the sting operation conducted in 2014, Narada News portal head Mathew Samuels, posing as a businessman, was seen approaching the Trinamool Congress ministers and leaders to get favours, and in return, offered cash to them. In a video footage released just before the state assembly polls in 2016, the TMC MP from Barasat Lok Sabha constituency was seen accepting cash from Samuels.
The CBI had subsequently booked 12 top TMC leaders, including MPs and West Bengal ministers, and an IPS officer. An FIR was lodged for alleged criminal conspiracy under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with bribery and criminal misconduct.
The anti-corruption wing of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), who is probing the case, carried out voice sample tests of Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar on September 12 in connection with the Narada sting operation.
The investigating agency is collecting the voice samples of the Trinamool leaders to determine the veracity of the conversations which Samuel had with them.
Over the past two weeks, several TMC ministers and leaders, including Subrata Mukherjee, Sougata Roy and Madan Mitra, have been subjected to voice sample tests in connection with the purported sting operation.
Last month, the probe agency approached Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, seeking sanction to prosecute Ghosh Dastidar, and two other MPs – Saugata Roy and Prasun Banerjee – and state minister and former parliamentarian of the party, Suvendu Adhikari, in the case, officials said. If the sanction is accorded, the four leaders might be named in the charge sheet.
On September 26, the CBI made its first arrest in the case. IPS officer SMH Mirza became the first person to be arrested in the Narada Sting Operation Case. Mirza was the Superintendent of Police of Burdwan district in West Bengal when the sting operation was conducted. He is allegedly seen on camera accepting bribes on behalf of politicians belonging to the Trinamool Congress.