West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her 'Save the Constitution' rally at Metro Channel in Kolkata on Monday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at her 'Save the Constitution' rally at Metro Channel in Kolkata on Monday.

CBI-Kolkata police showdown: Opposition supports Mamata's 'dharna'

ANI | Updated: Feb 04, 2019 16:26 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 4 (ANI): Several Opposition parties on Monday extended support to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after an unprecedented tussle took place between the state police and CBI officials in Kolkata, and hit out at the BJP for meddling with central agencies.
Amidst high political drama in West Bengal, Banerjee is sitting on her 'Save the Constitution' dharna at Metro Channel in Kolkata since Sunday night, in protest against the CBI move to arrest the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from his residence. The team was not allowed and the police, in turn, detained the officials in a high voltage drama.
Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre was heading a SIT on the Saradha and Rose Valley scams. The CBI wanted the top officer to hand over the seizure list made during his probe, sources said.
Reportedly, the top cop was to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but was not responding to notices to appear before the agency.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, while terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah as a "dangerous partnership" for the country, said that the incident was dangerous and is against the Constitution and democracy.
"Whatever central government did in West Bengal is very dangerous and is against the Constitution and democracy. Every state has an elected government. If the Prime Minister sends CBI and ED like this and try to scare the officers then this country will not be safe," Kejriwal told ANI.
He claimed that the BJP government was interested in targetting the Opposition through central agencies and contended that he had 33 cases registered against him.
"Four years ago in Delhi, paramilitary force was sent by the Modi government and raided the ACB," Kejriwal added.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also extended his support to the TMC supremo, stating that the events in West Bengal were happening because of the "unrelenting" attack on India’s institutions by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP.
DMK chief MK Stalin called Banerjee and congratulated her for staging the dharna, saying that the party will extend support in her "fight against democracy". In response, the West Bengal Chief Minister thanked Stalin for his support.
Echoing similar sentiments, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee working president Eshwar Khandre lambasted at the BJP for losing their "mental stability" and slammed them for giving "different statements" in an attempt to form a government in the state.
"BJP has lost its mental stability and that is the reason they are giving different statements about forming a government in Karnataka. We ran the government for five years. BJP is daydreaming," Khandre told reporters in Bengaluru.
Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) (JD-S) supremo HD Deve Gowda said that the mega-showdown in Kolkata between the police and the CBI was a "misuse" of the central investigative agency and termed the development as much worse than the Emergency period.
In a scathing attack, Gowda asserted that the events which followed after the unprecedented development showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi "overacted by using the CBI", which in turn will not help him for gaining political benefits.
"CBI went to arrest Kolkata Police Commissioner yesterday, this is a misuse of CBI. It is much worse than Emergency. The way the events have unfolded (in West Bengal) since last night shows the Prime Minister has overacted by using the CBI. This won't help him," he told ANI.
In a veiled jibe at the BJP, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra underlined that professionalism should be maintained.
"We are a mature democracy and professionalism should be maintained. Even in Odisha, sudden action by CBI just before Panchayat elections and now (the CBI action) before General elections, these moves smack of unprofessional conduct and are coloured with a political motive," he told ANI.
Similarly, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) too chided the BJP for "misusing" autonomous institutions "relentlessly" for their own political revenge. The party said that the CBI became BJP's tool for "vindictive politics".
"In the past few months, there has seen a lot of drama regarding the appointment of the CBI Chief and yesterday we saw how the CBI was used as a political tool in West Bengal. The CBI today is left with zero credibility whereas it is, sadly, supposed to be an autonomous agency. Autonomous institutions are being used relentlessly by the ruling BJP government for their own political revenge," GJM president Binoy Tamang said in a statement.
"It is disheartening to see how central institutions are being hijacked only to discredit political opponents. This step is against the federal structure of India and does not bode well for the Centre-state relationship," he added.
Accusing the BJP of mishandling institutions, Tamang asserted: "What was the reason for suddenly waking up to the Saradha scam and going straight to grab a state’s DGP and that too, weeks before polls. It looks like the CBI is doing all their activities under ‘political influence’ on a probe which is four years old."
Backing Banerjee for her stand, the GJM president said that the incident is a blatant misuse of CBI to intimidate the Opposition and settle political scores. He condemned the move for what he called a "mockery of democracy and federal structure".
Meanwhile, the Darjeeling-based party took out a rally in the hill town in support of the West Bengal Chief Minister. (ANI)