India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday arrested two West Bengal ministers - Subrata Mukherjee and Firhad Hakim - an MLA of the ruling Trinamool Congress Madan Mitra and former Kolkata mayor Souvan Chatterjee in connection with the Narada sting operation case. CBI officials visited their house on Monday morning and brought the leaders for questioning at their office in Kolkata's Nizam Palace.
All four leaders will be produced in the court later in the day. They have been arrested under sections 120b of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 7 and 13(1)(a) 13(1)(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
"The CBI did not intimate us (about the arrests). If they have been arrested, it is illegal. The prior permission of the speaker of the legislative assembly is required for it, but it was not taken. This is undemocratic," said West Bengal assembly speaker Biman Banerjee.
This comes after West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar last week gave permission to the CBI to prosecute them.
Chatterjee was with the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), but joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019. He quit the BJP too after being denied ticket in the assembly polls from his traditional assembly seat of Behala East.
Mitra, meanwhile, won the from the Kamarhati seat in West Bengal in the recently-concluded assembly election.
"We condemn this. This is a vindictive attitude," said Kunal Ghosh, spokesperson of the TMC.
The BJP said it has nothing to do with the arrests. "We have nothing to say. BJP has nothing to do with this," said party spokesperson Samik Bhattacharjee.
The case pertains to a controversy that erupted ahead of the 2016 assembly elections after Narada News portal uploaded a series of videos purportedly showing a number of high-profile TMC leaders receiving money in exchange for favours to a fictitious company.