WHAT WAS THE CASE
- In 2016, Matthew Samuel, the former Editor of Tehelka Magazine and the Managing Director of Narada News Portal leaked a sting video showing TMC members taking bribes.
- This happened before the 2016 assembly polls.
- An FIR based on criminal conspiracy under the Prevention of Corruption Act was lodged by the CBI against the members of TMC, and other West Bengal ministers.
- Investigation for misappropriation of public funds under Anti Corruption Act was begun by the Enforcement Directorate.
- TMC claims political vendetta by the Opposition as arrests were made suspiciously after the BJP lost the elections.
- BJP MPs Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP members were not arrested.
- This culminated into a Centre-State battle.
- The CM refused to leave the premises of the CBI complex until bail was granted.
- The CBI arrested Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, TMC MLA Madan Mitra and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chattopadhyay.
- The West Bengal CM, Mamata Bannerjee, sat on a dharna.
- Due to the large gathering of people outside the comlex, the 4 accused could not be presented in the Court.
- The Supreme Court did not approve of the protests but granted interim bail as their liberty could not be made to suffer.
- The CBI filed a plea to try the Narada case in a special court.
WHAT DID THE SC SAY
- The Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justice B R Gavai and Justice Vineet Saran heard the CBI’s appeal.
- They refused to interfere with the Calcutta HC Order which placed the accused under house arrest.
- Statements given by the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta correlated the matter of granting bail to the erosion of public faith in the system of judiciary as can be seen in light of the CM's dharna.
- The SC instructed Tushar Mehta to withdraw the appeal against the High Court order and let the 5 judge bench conduct the hearing .
- The matter is whether the administration of justice was impacted by the protests.
- The Bench comprises Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal, and Justices IP Mukherjee, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Arijit Banerjee.
- Senior Advocate A M Singhvi appeared on behalf of the TMC leaders to oppose allegations of the CBI bail order being vitiated due to the protests.
- He argued that the protest was peaceful, not mobocratic.
- The Law Minister wasn’t present hence there was no interference with justice.
- The Special Judge wasn’t under duress due to the Law Minister’s presence.
- Singhvi mentioned that the MLAs were not at flight risk and were eligible to be granted bail.
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