• Friday, Oct 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:46 pm

Cash-for-favours scam: 2 top West Bengal ministers charged

  • Published at 08:20 pm September 1st, 2021
Subrata Mukherjee , Firhad Hakim (right)
Firhad Hakim, left and Subrata Mukherjee, right UNB

The duo, along with two other politicians,  were caught accepting bribes on tapes in a sting operation some seven years ago

Two top West Bengal ministers and two other politicians have been charged by the country's premier economic intelligence agency for their alleged role in a cash-for-favours scam, more than three months after their arrests.

The four politicians named in the charge sheet filed by the enforcement directorate are serving ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee, and former ministers Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee, an official told the media in state capital Kolkata on Wednesday.

While Firhad and Subrata are Urban Development and Panchayati Raj Ministers, respectively, while Madan is a legislator of Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's ruling Trinamool Congress party.

Sovan, on the other hand, is Kolkata's former Mayor. He left the Trinamool in 2019 to join India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, but quit the outfit just before the assembly polls. The four were caught accepting bribes on tapes in a sting operation some seven years ago.

In May, all the four politicians were arrested by the country's premier probe agency -- the Central Bureau of Investigation – after West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar approved a plea to prosecute the four accused in the Narada tapes scandal.

"Governor accorded sanction for prosecution... being the appointing authority of ministers @MamataOfficial under article 164 and thus competent authority," Dhankhar tweeted on May 9.

The Narada scandal was a sting operation carried out by a journalist that caught on tape several ministers and senior officials of the Mamata government accepting cash bribes in exchange for doling out favours to a private firm looking to set up business in Bengal.

Earlier in May, Mamata scripted history by single-handedly pulling off an astounding win in the assembly election. She had not only defied anti-incumbency but also staved off a huge challenge from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Bengal had witnessed the most high-profile contest in India's recently held state elections. While Mamata harped on being Bengal’s daughter, the BJP had asked people to vote for "change and socio-economic development" after years of Communist and Trinamool rule.

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