The CBI withdrew its appeal before the Supreme Court in the Narada case arrests. The top court did not pass any order, but granted liberty to the CBI to raise its contentions before the Calcutta High Court’s five-judge Bench and granted liberty to all other parties to raise their contention before the High Court, in accordance with law.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for CBI, had asked for withdrawal before the Bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B.R. Gavai.
During the hearing today though, the top court made many observations. It was not happy with the Calcutta High Court’s order of May 17 by which the interim bail given to four Trinamool Congress leaders by the Special CBI court was stayed late at night.
While this particular stay order highlighted the difference between the two Judges of the High Court bench – Acting Chief Justice R. Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee – the top court observed, “Special Bench is assigned to protect liberty. This is for the first time that a Special Bench was assigned to take away the liberty.”
While also hearing the CBI plea to move the matter out of West Bengal by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta (on its behalf), the top court said that it did not support the state Chief Minister’s (Mamata Banerjee) action of a dharna before the CBI office in Kolkata.
Neither did they support the dharna of the Law Minister of the state, but it was a political process. “What do we do here?” asked the Bench.
That was after Mehta said the conduct of the Chief Minister and other top Trinamool leaders had vitiated the atmosphere. “There was stone pelting too,” said Mehta.
The top court, however, also made it clear that the political agitations were not part of this legal hearing and cannot influence the grant of bail to the accused. “We have to see if bail has to be granted or not. For other issues, other remedies are there. Take action against such officials,” the Court remarked.
Justice Gavai gave a personal experience in this regard, saying the Judge’s order will not be pressurised by any political agitation. Trinamool leaders Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee (both ministers), Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee were arrested by the CBI on May 17.
The case will now be heard by the High Court’s five-judge bench. The High Court had not been swayed by the SG’s threat of moving the top court and had gone ahead with its hearing. The next hearing in the High Court is on May 26, Wednesday.