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Published On: Mon, Feb 4th, 2019

CM Mamta Banerjee sits on her ‘Save the Constitution’ dharna in Kolkata

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mamta-04KOLKATA/ NEW DELHI : The fight between the West Bengal government and the CBI is continuing unabated with former moving the Calcutta High Court and the latter the Supreme Court.
The row started with the investigating agency’s attempt to interrogate Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar on some missing files in Sharada chit fund case.
Ms Banerjee started her ‘dharna‘ following a high drama in front of Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s official home on Loudon Street when a group of CBI officers were stopped by city police personnel from approaching Mr Kumar’s house.

The Kolkata police personnel also forcibly took the federal probe agency officers to a police station after bundling them into several vehicles.
The full-blown political stand-off between Mamata Banerjee and the central government continued through the day, with the chief minister refusing to budge from her sit-in protest in the heart of Kolkata. The issue pitched Ms Banerjee to the forefront of a united opposition, whose leaders tore into the central government and took on the government on the floor of parliament and outside. The Central Bureau of Investigation, whose move to barge into the house of the Kolkata police chief and question him triggered the mega row, went to the Supreme Court, which will hear the evidence against Rajeev Kumar tomorrow.
A political storm has erupted in the state since yesterday after CBI officials reached the residence of the Kolkata Police chief to question him on alleged missing files in chit fund cases. Soon after Mamata Banerjee reached the residence of the official and sat on a dharna. The city police took a few CBI officials into custody, just to release them later.  A number of opposition leaders from Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdulla to Lalu Prasad Yadav have voiced their support for Mamata Banerjee in her fight against the CBI and the central government, The Supreme Court will hear the investigating agency’s plea that Rajeev Kumar is not cooperating in the probe, which it says, amounts to contempt of court. The top court will hear the matter on Tuesday.
The BJP says the events unfolding in the state are unprecedented. Addressing the media, Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed his surprise over the fact that a police commissioner was sitting on a dharna called by the chief minister. He further said that the West Bengal CM was following the footsteps of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday extended support to his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee as she began a sit-in in Kolkata to protest against the Central government. “Spoke to Mamta  and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy,” Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
“Modi ji has made a complete mockery of democracy and the federal structure. A few years back, Modi ji captured anti-corruption branch of Delhi government by sending paramilitary forces. Now, this. Modi-Shah duo is a threat to India and its democracy. We strongly condemn this action,” he added. Mr Kejriwal, along with three Cabinet Ministers, camped at the Raj Niwas for 10 days demanding a direction to administration officers working in Delhi to end their undeclared ‘strike’ and the Centre to approve Delhi government’s proposal to deliver ration to the poor at their houses.

The CBI has accused Rajeev Kumar, the chief of Kolkata Police, of being a “potential accused” in the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi schemes — cases he investigated —  and said it was possible that he might have tried to destroy evidence. The court asked the agency to present proof tomorrow. In the evening, she held an impromptu award ceremony for the officers of the Kolkata Police. Bihar leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK’s Kanimozhi are at the spot.
The matter raised ripples in parliament too, where amid heavy slogan shouting by the opposition, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the detention of CBI officers was “unprecedented” and indicated a constitutional breakdown in the state. Various leaders of the BJP questioned why Ms Banerjee is going out on a limb for a police officer. “Circumstances indicate that this cop knows a lot and therefore has to be saved,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Several leaders of Ms Banerjee’s party are allegedly involved in the two cases, which were investigated by Rajeev Kumar

Meanwhile, today, the BJP approached the Election Commission, alleging that the Trinamool Congress government was not allowing its political programmes in the state. “The party which is ruling in the state and its supporters are out in the open to ensure that no other political party gets permission to carry out its legitimate activities ahead of the polls,” said Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was part of the delegation.
(Wit  Inputs from Kolkata ).

 

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