Kolkata, Sep 30 (IANS) Arrested IPS officer S.M.H. Mirza on Monday countered BJP leader Mukul Roy’s claim of not taking any money in the Narada sting footage scam, as he was sent to 14 judicial custody.
Mirza was produced before the Bankshall court here on completion of his five-day CBI custody.
The CBI counsel prayed for Mirza’s jail remand for the sake of his interrogation, whenever needed, and argued that giving him bail could hamper the probe as he was an influential person.
Mirza’s lawyer, on the other hand, prayed for bail, saying he had presented himself before the CBI whenever the agency asked him to. The defence lawyer also denied that Mirza was influential.
After hearing both sides, the judge sent Mirza to judicial custody for 14 days.
Speaking to a television channel while being taken to the court earlier in the day, Mirza took an apparent dig at former Union Minister Roy for saying he has not been seen in the video taking money.
“He himself is seen talking over phone (in the video footage),” Mirza remarked cryptically.
Asked about Roy denying that Mirza had given money to him at his residence, the IPS officer said: “Investigation will reveal whether or not he has accepted (money).”
In an apparent reference to being brought face-to-face with Roy by the CBI, which also took the former Burdwan Superintendent of Police to Roy’s flat for “reconstruction” of the event based on Mirza’s custodial interrogation, he said: “There has been confrontation, there has been reconstruction.
“Just because he has not been seen in the video that does not prove he hasn’t taken it… The investigation will prove that. He says he has not been seen in the video. He himself is seen saying over phone (in the video footage).”
Mirza was taken to Roy’s flat on Sunday for videography in the light of the clip in the footage where he was seen talking over phone with someone whom he assured that an amount of Rs 1.60 crore had been deposited at the right place.
The visit took place a day after Roy – the number one accused in the FIR filed by the CBI on the case – was grilled for two and a half hours by the sleuths.
A videographer engaged by the CBI captured every details of Mirza’s movement from the lane leading to the apartment complex right upto his stay inside the flat, where was made to sit face-to-face with Roy.
“Videography was done as per identification by Mirza that the huge cash transaction took place at this place,” a CBI officer had told waiting media persons.
Roy has dismissed the allegations, and claimed there was a conspiracy to malign him and the BJP, and that there was not a single clip in the sting footage showing him taking any money.
In the sting operation conducted by Narada News chief journalist Mathew Samuel in 2014, the IPS officer and a number of senior Trinamool leaders — two of whom Roy and former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee have since crossed over to the BJP — were purportedly seen taking cash or asking that money be deposited elsewhere in return for promising favours to a fictitious company.
Current state ministers Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Suvendu Adhikari, incumbent MPs Saugato Roy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Prasun Banerjee and Aparoopa Poddar, former state minister Madan Mitra, sitting state legislator Iqbal Ahmed – all belonging to the Trinamool Congress, were also named in the document.
The 13th accused Sultan Ahmed – then a Trinamool MP – has since passed away.
The footage was uploaded by the news portal in March, 2016, ahead of the West Bengal Assembly elections.
Mirza, the first person to be arrested in the case and remanded to CBI custody till September 30, was heard referring to his closeness with Roy in footage uploaded by the news portal. Roy, it is said, had asked Samuel to meet Mirza, saying he would be the go-between.
The CBI lodged an FIR on April 17, 2017, after a preliminary inquiry revealed prima facie material for registration of a regular case relating to criminal conspiracy (IPC 120B) and under several provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.