Mathew Samuel, a senior journalist and the complainant in the 2016 Narada Tapes case, today expressed happiness at some politicians like the Trinamool’s Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim being arrested by the CBI based on the sting operation he conducted.
“It’s a day of happiness…it’s been years. The sting tapes were released in 2016…the politicians could not be touched by the CBI. It had the charge sheet ready three years ago,” Mr Samuel, an investigative journalist and founder of Narada News, said in a video message.
It was 2016, few days ahead of the West Bengal assembly polls, Narada News published video recordings of various Trinamool leaders receiving cash allegedly in exchange for some favours. These recordings soon came to be known as the Narada Tapes.
The CBI on May 17 arrested four of those leaders, Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, and Sovan Chatterjee.
Though Mr Samuel welcomed the arrests of the TMC leaders, he also questioned why Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Suvendu Adhikari was not arrested.
“I had gone and given the money to Suvendu Adhikari in his office. His name is not on the list. What happened? A forensic was conducted and it was proven…the CBI took a statement from me too,” he said. “I even go to know that Suvendhu Adhikari admitted that he received the money from me.”
According to the CBI sources, the agency was awaiting clearance from authorities to move against Mr Adhikari and others. The agency had sought the Lok Sabha Speaker’ prosecution sanction against him on April 6, 2019, since he was then a member of the lower house.
“Once sanction is received, the law will take its own course,” CBI sources said, adding that the agency had even sent a reminder on the matter.
The senior journalist, meanwhile, said what was seen in the tapes was only “the tip of the iceberg”, hinting that the probe till now may not have been fair.
Questions are raised on why other accused in the case, Mukul Roy, Suvendu Adhikari and Shanku Deb Panda, who have switched from the TMC to BJP, are spared from the arrests.