Narada News' Chief Executive Officer Mathew Samuel was briefly detained at the Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday after a lookout notice issued by the Kolkata Police, reported The Indian Express. Samuel was stopped by immigration officials when he arrived from Dubai, however, he was released late in the night.
Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Crime) Vishal Garg confirmed his detention at the airport. This comes only a day after Calcutta High Court asked the state police to suspend their investigation into the case till the next hearing in the matter on August 19.
Samuel's lawyer said the move qualifies for contempt of court. He wrote a letter to the Kolkata Police commissioner saying, “Hon’ble High Court put a stay on parallel investigation initiated by the Kolkata Police. In spite thereof, as per your instruction, the immigration authority at Delhi has detained my client in violation of high court order. You are requested to take immediate steps to release my client from police custody."
The lookout notice was in connection to a complaint filed by the Kolkata Mayor and Fire and Emergency Services Minister Sovan Chattopadhyay’s wife. The minister was seen accepting a bribe in a sting video shot by the news website. Opposition parties, including the Congress and the Left, said the government's move to detain Samuel reflects the Mamata Banerjee regime's desperate attempt to cover up the corruption charges against her ministers.
In March, weeks before the first phase of the West Bengal Assembly elections, Narada News released videos that purportedly showed several Trinamool Congress leaders accepting cash in return for favours to a fictitious company. The Lok Sabha’s ethics committee had sought an explanation from the five TMC MPs implicated in the sting operation, and the Calcutta High Court had set up a three-member committee to keep evidence from the Narada News investigation "in safe custody". Banerjee ordered an inquiry into the sting operation in June.