Narada lawyer stops outgoing Calcutta HC CJ from deciding on interim stay
Outgoing Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Girish Chandra Gupta stopped short of passing his directive on an interim stay that had expired against Narada News CEO and Editor-in-Chief Mathew Samuel.
On Wednesday, when the matter came up for hearing, Samuel’s advocate Arunava Ghosh objected to Gupta passing a directive. He said Gupta, on his last day in judicial service, should not pass the order since he had been felicitated by the very Bengal minister who is an accused in the Narada expose. The court room saw high drama when Ghosh showed newspaper photographs of the chief justice with the accused at two functions in Kidderpore and Metiabruz.
Upon this, the chief justice, who was taken aback by Ghosh’s interjection, adjourned the hearing to December 2. Justice Nishita Mhatre has taken over as the acting Chief Justice and is likely to hear the case.
The high court’s interim stay on police investigation had expired on November 11 and the police had asked Samuel to turn up for questioning. Kolkata Mayor Sovon Chatterjee’s wife had filed a defamation case against Samuel in June this year. Chatterjee is one of the several Trinamool Congress leaders who accepted money in the Narada sting for favours to be granted to a fictitious company.
Upon the expiry of the interim stay, the government had sought to push the court to summon Samuel. Though there was no application to extend the stay, Ghosh pleaded with the court for it.
The HC already has the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory report on the tapes’ authenticity.