Bharatiya Janata Party legislator and leader of opposition in the West Bengal assembly Suvendu Adhikari on Friday rejected media reports that he met solicitor general Tushar Mehta in Delhi on July 1. He was responding to criticism from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress that had asked how a person like the BJP leader, who is allegedly involved in the Narada scandal, was being entertained by the SG who is representing the Central Bureau of Investigation in the same case.
“No, I have not met him (Tushar Mehta),” the BJP lawmaker said at a press conference.
The Trinamool Congress on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the removal of SG Tushar Mehta over the matter.
Mehta too, however, denied any such meeting took place.
A statement issued by the solicitor general of India reads, “Shri Suvendu Adhikari did come to my residence cum office yesterday at around 3:00 PM, unannounced. Since I was already in a pre-scheduled meeting in my chamber, my staff requested him to sit in the waiting room of my office building and offered him a cup of tea. When my meeting was over and thereafter my PPS informed me about his arrival, I requested my PPS to convey to Mr Adhikari my inability to meet him and apologize as he had to wait. Mr Adhikari thanked my PPS and left without insisting to meet me. The question of my meeting with Mr Adhikari, therefore, did not arise.”
Trinamool Congress parliamentarian Abhishek Banerjee demanded that the SG make the security camera footage public for more clarity on his statement.
“Mr Mehta’s efforts to dismiss speculations regarding his clandestine meeting with @SuvenduWB can only be valuable if he makes all CCTV footage public until Mr Adhikari was in his residence. Moreover, was Mr Adhikari present in the SG’s residence without prior appointment?” Banerjee tweeted. “Reports state that Mr Adhikari entered Hon’ble SG’s residence in the presence of a cavalcade of officers and stayed there for nearly 30 minutes. Does that imply that a meeting was indeed due? As the episode gets murkier, one can only hope that the truth shall surface.”
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had condemned the purported meeting on Thursday.
“He (Mehta) is a CBI lawyer in the Narada case and he is meeting Suvendu Adhikari who is named in the FIR in the Narada case. What is going on? He (Suvendu Adhikari) should be immediately arrested,” he had said.
A sting operation was conducted by Narada news portal founder Mathew Samuel for over two years. Ahead of the 2016 assembly elections, he released videos purportedly showing 13 TMC ministers and leaders accepting bribes in return for favours.