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Calcutta HC orders house arrest for TMC leaders and refers case to larger bench

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee differed on the case as the hearing began this morning.

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Kolkata: A two-judge bench of Calcutta High Court ruled Friday that the three prominent leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress and a former mayor of Kolkata will be kept under house arrest instead of jail custody in tune with the recent judgement of the Supreme Court in the Gautam Navalka case.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee differed on the case as the hearing began this morning.

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The two judges disagreed concerning prayer for grant of interim bail and hence they decided to send the matter to a larger bench.

The order of house arrest was, therefore, passed as an ad hoc arrangement till the larger bench decides the matter one way or the other.

The second wave of Covid-19 was taken into account by the bench as it issued the order of house arrest instead of judicial custody of the four leaders.

The four were granted interim bail by a Special CBI Court on Monday after arrest and the order was stayed by the high court responding to an appeal of the CBI late into the night of the same day.

The high court granted the stay on bail after the CBI sought a transfer of the case from the Special CBI Court, citing a threat to the central investigating agency on the ground that TMC chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee staged a sit-in the CBI office for six hours in an intimidating atmosphere.

The four leaders had filed an application before the high court seeking recall of the stay order and praying for interim bail.

The four leaders – Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee – were arrested by the CBI in connection with the Narada sting operation case.

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