Kolkata Police-CBI Standoff: WB Guv Sends Confidential Report To Centre

New Delhi: Even as West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee continues to observe a sit-in dharna in central Kolkata, state Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has sent a confidential report to the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday afternoon, apprising it about the stand-off between the Kolkata Police and the CBI.

The Home Ministry had asked for a report on the role of IPS officers on allegations of obstructing investigation and violation of Service Conduct Rules in yesterday’s incident in Kolkata when CBI officers had reached Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence in examine him in connection wiht the chit fund scam.

Media reports suggested the confidential report has been critical of the State government and its roll in the entire episode.

Supreme Court, which is expected to hear the case tomorrow, said it is open for the solicitor general or any other party to lay before the court any material or evidence to show that any West Bengal authority or police official is planning or trying to destroy evidence related to the case.

The top court said all material or evidence has to be placed before it by means of affidavit. The Court had agreed to give an urgent hearing to applications moved by the CBI alleging destruction of electronic evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam case by the Kolkata Police commissioner.

Rishi Kumar Shukla, the new CBI director who took over charge on Monday, had series of internal meetings with senior officials of the investigation agency as tension continued to simmer both in Kolkata and New Delhi.

Reacting to the situation in the State, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha that “there may be constitutional breakdown in West Bengal.” He said the Police Commissioner was summoned many times but he did not appear, which is why the CBI had to go to the police officers house.’

The Home Minister added that it was chief minister Mamata Banerjee who was stopping CBI from investigating over the chit fund scam.

Both the Houses of the Parliament adjourned as the Opposition created ruckus over the alleged government’s interference into the federal structure of the country.

Raising the issue during the zero hour in Lok Sabha, BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab said the role and responsibility of the CBI are being derided because of certain motivated action of certain persons. This should be stopped at all quarters. The party denounced the CBI-Kolkata Police face-off and accused the Centre of using the central investigating agency as a political weapon.

During the day, Mamata addressed the crowd from her dharna, where she continued her attack against the Centre and reached out to the farming class, listing out initiatives by her government for them.

Political observers felt the unfolding events in Kolkata especially ahead of the general elections should perhaps be a reason of concern for BJP.

Before dislodging West Bengal’s 34-year-old Left Front government in 2011, Mamata Banerjee’s reputation was essentially that of a street fighter. That as chief minister of Bengal she has now decided to re-enact that role and hit the streets, should perhaps worry the Bharatiya Janata Pary (BJP). Especially when the latest turn of events marked by political vendetta comes at a time when she has emerged as a leading light of the opposition conglomerate against the ruling BJP at the Centre, managing editor of news portal The Wire Monobina Gupta wrote in her opinion piece.

Most of the opposition parties, who had joined Mamata’s Brigade Parade Ground rally on January 19, rallied behind the TMC chief. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejrwal is expected to join her dharna later on Monday.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi also extended his support to Mamata in her agitation.

BJP too raised the ante against the West Bengal Chief Minister during the day. Senior party leaders including Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, BJP leader from the state Mukul Roy among others met Election Commission, demanding a fare and free elections in the state.

“In interest of wanting free and fair environment in which Lok Sabha polls can be conducted, we have come to bring to the notice of Election Commission certain happenings in West Bengal which has complete cooperation of the TMC. Instances we highlighted point out that the TMC doesn’t believe in democracy,” Sitharaman said.

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said, “I spoke to Mamata ji and assured her we are with her in this battle. Not just West Bengal, the center is misusing CBI as the elections are coming near. Along with Bengal, many other states have been misusing CBI especially around elections.”

“Her (Mamata Banerjee) allegation is right. This country is in danger as its becoming dictatorial. They (Central govt) are not masters of this country, people are,” National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah reacted in Parliament to a poser.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had on Sunday saw the Kolkata police-CBI stand-off as a drama orchestrated by the BJP and her party.

“This drama in Kolkata by BJP and TMC is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption. CPI(M) has fought both these undemocratic, corrupt, communal and dictatorial regimes in the Centre and the state and will continue to do so,” he had said.

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