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Narada case: CBI arrests IPS officer SMH Meerza, summons Mukul Roy

Narada case: CBI arrests IPS officer   SMH Meerza, summons Mukul Roy

New Delhi: With trouble mounting for senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, the CBI on Thursday arrested senior IPS officer SMH Meerza, who has been placed under suspension, in connection with the 2016 Narada tapes corruption case, officials here said.

Officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation made the first arrest in the case after having questioned him multiple times. Meerza was produced before a designated court in West Bengal, which remanded him to five days in CBI custody till Monday.

The Narada case had come to light after Mathew Samuel, owner and Editor of Narada News, had pretended to be the promoter of a fictitious company and covertly recorded conversations with senior leaders of the ruling party in West Bengal at the time.

Now in an embarrassing move for Mukul Roy, sources in the know said that the senior BJP leader has been summoned to appear before agency officials on Friday and will be confronted with Meerza in connection with the allegations against him.

The central probe agency's preliminary enquiry into the Narada tapes had shown Mukul Roy, then part of TMC, instructing Samuel to hand over cash meant for himself to IPS officer Meerza.

According to the CBI, Samuel had said he had brought "five" for him, after which Roy asked him to hand the money over to Meerza, who was to collect it on his behalf. The CBI's probe also showed Meerza then accepting an amount of Rs 5 lakh in cash from the sting operator.

The Narada recordings, which were released before the 2016 Assembly polls in the state, purportedly showed several leaders of the TMC accepting cash amounts from Samuel, in exchange for allegedly favouring his fictitious company.

The CBI had recently summoned all the accused politicians in the case to record their voice samples for the investigation, including Roy, who had also appeared before agency officials in New Delhi a few weeks ago.

While the central agency has been actively pursuing leads pertaining to the other accused in the case, issuing multiple summonses to them, Roy has till now been able to evade continued scrutiny from the agency since he jumped ship to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party within four months of the CBI registering an FIR against him and others in the Narada case.

Abhinay Lakshman

Abhinay Lakshman

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