“They had been told what to say by the Chief Minister in the rape case”

As the events pertaining to alleged rape of a 37-year-old woman in the heart of Kolkata earlier this month have unfolded, it has become clear that contrary to claims made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the police will be allowed to function independently the force is dealing with political interference, said Leader of the Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Surya Kanta Mishra here on Monday.

 Asked about remarks made by senior officers of the Kolkata Police at the State Secretariat after a meeting with the Chief Minister, Dr. Mishra said that it was evident that “they had been told what to say by the Chief Minister”.

“The Chief Minister summoned those officers and told them what to say in order to save her own face. What can the police officers do? They had to save their jobs,” Mr. Mishra said.

He rued that no self-respecting police officer would want to work in West Bengal because of “the environment that she (Ms. Banerjee) has created here”.

While Ms. Banerjee had claimed that the alleged rape was “staged” to malign the image of her government and her remarks had been echoed by the city's Commissioner of Police R. K. Pachnanda, the investigations have revealed that the incident did occur and the three suspects have also been arrested.

During the day, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Damayanti Sen told journalists that her team deserved credit for carrying out the investigations. Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) Jawed Shamim also said that there was no question of a division within the police force and that every officer of the city police worked under the guidance of the Commissioner of Police.

Drawing a parallel with the outcry over the death in suspicious circumstances of the computer graphics teacher Rizwanur Rahman after which then Commissioner of Police Prasun Mukherjee was transferred, Dr. Mishra said that when he heard that Mr. Pachnanda had been summoned by the Chief Minister during the day he had hoped for a “positive outcome.”

 “Instead we found that the officers who worked well were chastised and told go and save their face,” said Dr. Mishra.

 “How independently the police are allowed to work has become quite clear after this incident,” he added.

  • “No self-respecting cop would want to work here because of the political environment”

  • “Had hoped for a positive outcome when the Police Commissioner was summoned”