Citing health reasons, West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress legislator Iqbal Ahmed on Wednesday failed to appear before the Enforcement Directorate and skipped the Central Bureau of Investigation's summon in connection with the Narada sting video probe.
The ED, last week, served a notice to him for appearing at the agency's Kolkata office on Wednesday. "We have submitted a written letter to the investigating agency that Ahmed is in hospital. He cannot be able to appear before the agency. We have told them that they are free to come and interrogate him in the hospital," said Ahmed's lawyer.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) also summoned him to appear in the same case on Thursday. "We informed the same to CBI," the lawyer said. Ahmed had earlier skipped the CBI summons and sought more time to appear at the investigating agency's office here. Later, he appeared at the agency's city office.
Ahmed was one of the Trinamool leaders purportedly seen receiving money in exchange for a promise to dole out favours to a fictitious company in a video footage uploaded by the Narada news portal last year. Meanwhile, the ED summoned Syed Tazdar Ali Mirza, who had allegedly taken Narada News CEO Mathew Samuel to meet the Trinamool Congress leaders, an agency official said on Wednesday.
Ahmed's brother and Trinamool Lok Sabha member Sultan Ahmed was also seen accepting wads of currency notes in the purported sting operation videos, said Iqbal Ahmed was unwell for the past one year.
Among others whose names figured in the FIR, filed by the CBI, were Trinamool Vice President and Rajya Sabha member Mukul Roy, and the party's Lok Sabha members Sougata Roy, Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Aparupa Poddar and Prasun Banerjee.
Also featuring in the list were state ministers Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Suvendu Adhikari, city Mayor and state minister Sovan Chatterjee, Iqbal Ahmed and former minister Madan Mitra. IPS officer S.M.H. Mirza was the other person named in the list.
The controversy erupted in the assembly election-bound West Bengal in March last year after the portal uploaded the videos. The Calcutta High Court ordered a CBI preliminary inquiry into the case on March 17, and asked the federal investigation agency to submit the report within 72 hours. The party moved the Supreme Court which extended the probe period.
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