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Narada Case : Why CBI Sought Police Custody After Filing Chargesheet? Luthra Asks In Calcutta High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
19 May 2021 4:08 PM GMT
Narada Case : Why CBI Sought Police Custody After Filing Chargesheet? Luthra Asks In Calcutta High Court
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Arguing for the interim bail of TMC leaders arrested by the CBI in the Narada scam case, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra asked in the Calcutta High Court why the investigating agency sought for police custody after the chargesheet has been filed.Mr.Luthra pointed out to a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee that the CBI arrest of the...

Arguing for the interim bail of TMC leaders arrested by the CBI in the Narada scam case, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra asked in the Calcutta High Court why the investigating agency sought for police custody after the chargesheet has been filed.

Mr.Luthra pointed out to a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee that the CBI arrest of the four Trinamool Congress leaders took place on the same day when the chargesheet in the case was filed.

He highlighted that in the remand application, the CBI sought police custody of the four accused - Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovan Chatterjee. It was also underscored by Mr.Luthra that the CBI is seeking further investigation only as against the other accused in the case, which means the investigation against these four leaders is over.

In this backdrop, Mr.Luthra asked :

"On the day of filing chargesheet, they were arrested. Police custody is needed only for investigation. Where is the question of police custody after chargesheet?"

"You have not arrested us for four years. Where is the need for arrest on the day of filing chargesheet?", continued Mr.Luthra, adding "If you have not arrested a person for four years, there must be some justification".


Mr.Luthra said that his client Sovan Chatterjee, being a senior citizen with COPD  illness, has a high risk of contracting COVID-19 in custody. Therefore, he made a fervent plea for grant of interim-bail.

The senior lawyer also raised objections to the maintainability of the application filed by the CBI seeking transfer of the case to High Court under Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He said that the application was not accompanied with an affidavit as mandated by the provision.

He submitted that the High Court could not have stayed the order granting bail in the Section 407 application. If the CBI was aggrieved with the grant of bail, they ought to have challenged the order in appropriate proceedings.

Mr.Luthra also mentioned during the hearing that the CBI is operating on the basis of a stay order passed by the Supreme Court. He was referring to the 2013 verdict of the Gauhati High Court which declared the formation of CBI unconstitutional. That verdict was stayed by the Supreme Court after the CBI rushed to it, and the case is still pending.

Without expressly referring to these developments, Mr.Luthra quipped :

"CBI is an agency which is operating under a stay order of the Supreme Court. It is hanging on a stay order. If that stay order goes...we will see".



The Story Of A Stay Order Which Keeps CBI Alive

Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the other three arrested leaders, argued that the Court erred by staying the bail order without issuing notice to the accused.

"No court can stay interim-bail without giving notice to the accused", Dr.Singhvi asserted.


The CBI is seeking transfer of the bail applications from the Special CBI Court to the High Court, citing the "unprecedented mob pressure" exerted by the protests of Chief Minister Mamanata Banerjee and Law Minister Moloy Ghatak.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, argued that unprecedented levels of hooliganism took place in Kolkata on the day of the arrests, with the Chief Minister holding a dharna in front of the CBI office for six hours and the law minister leading a group of protesters within the court complex. According to the SG, it was an "orchestrated attempt" to prevent the CBI from discharging its functions and to pressurize the Special CBI judge.

After hearing the lawyers for over two hours on Wednesday afternoon, the bench adjourned the hearing to tomorrow 2 PM.

During the hearing, the bench raised questions at the propriety of the public protests led by the Chief Minister and the Law Minister when the CBI court was considering the bail applications.

On Monday night, the High Court, after staying the order of the trial court which had granted the four TMC leaders bail, had ordered that they should be remanded to judicial custody.

Peaceful Protests Permissible In Democracy Even If Court Is Considering The Issue : Dr. Singhvi In Calcutta High Court

Narada Case- "Do You Deny CM Sitting In Dharna In Front Of CBI Office"? Asks Court, "It Was A Means Of Democratic Protest": Dr Singhvi


Live account of the hearing may be read here.






 







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