CBI vs Kolkata Police: Mamata's open challenge keeps Kolkata awake

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits in a dharna at the Metro Channel Control Post of the Hare Street Police Station in Kolkata’s Esplanade on February 3, 2019.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits in a dharna at the Metro Channel Control Post of the Hare Street Police Station in Kolkata’s Esplanade on February 3, 2019.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went on an indefinite sit-in in front of the Metro Channel Control Post of Hare Street Police station at Esplanade in Kolkata, after CBI officials tried to enter Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence to question him in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. Ms. Banerjee said her agitation was to “save democracy, Constitution and the country.” She blamed the Central government, particularly the BJP leadership and the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, for forcing her to go on an agitation. Trinamool officials said “it could be a fast like in 2006” when Ms. Banerjee went on a 21-day agitation. That time it was directed against the CPI(M).

 

1. 10 am

 

‘CBI to move Supreme Court’

CBI sources say the agency will move the Supreme Court on February 4, claiming its probe in ponzi scams was being obstructed by the West Bengal government and the State police.

While calls and messages to interim CBI chief M. Nageswar Rao, whose appointment is under challenge in the Supreme Court, remained unanswered, sources confirm that the agency will move the Supreme Court to present their case.

 

 

11.40 pm

Rahul extends support

Congress chief Rahul Gandhi calls up Ms. Banerjee, and extends support to her. Mr. Gandhi says the entire Opposition is together and will defeat fascist forces. Events in Bengal part of unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by PM and BJP, adds Mr. Gandhi.

11 pm

CBI action mala fide, says Congress

Congress says the CBI action in Kolkata is clearly “mala fide” and an “assault” on the federal polity, which has come within 48 hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s public “threat” to him.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi says the antipathy of Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah towards Ms. Banerjee is “visceral”. He alleges that the BJP and the Prime Minister are desperate to create a controversy in the state for “cheap publicity and divisiveness” to get some space in 2019 elections.

10.20 pm

‘Dharna to save democracy’

“To save democracy and federal forces we have started this protest,” she says as she begins addressing the media, the first at the protest venue. “Why the Modi government is using CBI as a political tool,” she asks adding “we will not allow super emergency to be imposed in the country.”

Ms. Banerjee adds: “We respect all those who called and expressed solidarity. All my life I have struggled, I am ready to sacrifice my life.”

10 pm

Mamata against protest rallies on Tuesday

Ms. Banerjee urges supporters not to block roads and calls for protest rallies after 2 pm tomorrow. Meanwhile list of Opposition leaders who called up Ms. Banerjee is growing. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and RJD leader Tejwashi Yadav are among the leaders who called.

9.50 pm

Central forces deployed

Central forces have been deployed in front of CBI offices at Central Government Officers Complex in Kolkata.

9.05 pm

Kolkata Police chief at Mamata protest venue

A stage is being set up at the dharna venue. Rajeev Kumar is at the protest venue along with senior officers including DGP Virendra, State Security Advisor Surojit Purokayastha and IG (law and order) Anuj Sharma. Congress leader Ahmed Patel, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Samjwadi Pary chief Akhilesh Yadav have called, Ms. Banerjee informs.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits on a dharna in Kolkata protesting the CBI action on Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar (third to her right).

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits on a dharna in Kolkata protesting the CBI action on Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar (third to her right).

 

8.40 pm

Dharna begins

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has arrived at Metro Cinema and has begun her dharna against the CBI action.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits on a dharna near Metro Cinema in Kolkata protesting the CBI action on Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sits on a dharna near Metro Cinema in Kolkata protesting the CBI action against Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar.

People shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrives at Metro Cinema in Kolkata for a dharna against CBI action on Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee arrives at Metro Cinema in Kolkata for a dharna against CBI action on Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar.

8.15 pm

Mamata slams Ajit Doval

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media outside the Kolkata Commissioner of Police’s residence in Kolkata on February 3, 2019.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses the media outside the Kolkata Commissioner of Police’s residence in Kolkata on February 3, 2019.

 

After the meeting Ms. Banerjee says, "I have been pressurised not to hold the January 19 Opposition meeting. We are victimised for holding that rally... because the BJP knows that they can win.”

She holds National Security Adviser Ajit Doval responsible for the developments. “Ajit Doval is masterminding everything," she says.

“I feel ashamed to talk to this Prime Minister. Law and Order is State subject. I run an administration if any official of my administration gets in trouble. I need to protect him. They have no right to go to a senior official’s house like that. It's complete constitutional breakdown,” she says. “We will be able to defeat Modi ... I know it will happen.”

She adds: “All police force across the country in stand by them. I have nothing against officials that's why I have let them (cbi officials). I will sit on a dharna in front of Metro Cinema. I am not scared. I am going to Metro now to sit on a dharna. I appeal to the media to be neutral.”

She says: “To save the country and constitution I am sitting on dharna. Gandhi ji said saytagraha. I am going on satyagraha from tonight.

8 pm

Kolkata partly shut down

The City is partly shut down with some of the arterial roads blocked by police. "The city suddenly   descends to chaos, people hooked to television, rumour flying on social media and thousands are police are out on street," correspondent Suvojit Bagchi reports from Kolkata.

Scene outside the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence in Kolkata on February 3, 2019.

Scene outside the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence in Kolkata on February 3, 2019.

 

7.55 pm

CBI officials bundled away

CBI officials bundled away from the area by Kolkata Police officials. Kolkata Mayor has just reached the residence of Commissioner of Police.

7.25 pm

Mamata at Kolkata Police chief's residence

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reached the Kolkata Police Commissioner’s residence amid the showdown with the CBI and holds a meeting with top officials.

6.30 pm

CBI vs Kolkata Police

Central Bureau of Investigation officials, on the lookout for Kolkata police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, try to enter his south Kolkata residence, but are prevented by Kolkata Police officials. The CBI officials have been bundled away in a car by the police. The CBI is on a lookout for Mr. Kumar in connection with chit fund related cases.

Earlier in the day, Kolkata police has refuted reports that the CBI  is “looking for Mr. [Rajeev] Kumar [the Commissioner of Police]” while “he remains untraceable”.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Photo: kolkatapolice.gov.in

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Photo: kolkatapolice.gov.in

 

In a statement on Twitter and Facebook, Kolkata Police noted that the organisation is condemning the news, describing the media reports as “baseless”.

Some of the news items also mentioned that Mr. Kumar was “not attending office for three days”, the KP message claimed. “Please take note that not only is the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata available in the city, but has also been attending office on a regular basis, with the exception of 31.01.19, when he was on leave for a day,” the Kolkata Police noted in its statement.

A senior Kolkata police officer, told the media on February 3 that they may initiate legal action for “spreading” the story, which defamed the Commissioner of Police.

“The story was circulated in the print, social and the electronic media. The story has no basis and totally mala fide. We feel, it was done with some intention…without fact. We will take strict legal action against those those who spread the story,” a senior Kolkata police official Jawed Samim said in a press conference in Kolkata. Mr. Samim appealed to media to refrain from circulating stories without verifying facts at a time when election is approaching.

The CBI arrived at Mr. Kumar’s residence soon after Mr. Samim’s statement.

Reacting to the development, Trinamool MP and the party’s national spokesperson Derek O'Brien asked whether “(the) BJP(was) planning a constitutional coup?”

Mr. Brien tweeted: “40 CBI officials surround Kolkata Police Commissioner’s home. Destruction of institutions goes on unabated. Our demand in #Parliament on Mon. Modi has to go. We are reaching out and sharing this with all Oppn parties who want to #SaveDemocracy”.


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Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:31:19 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/kolkata-police-prevent-cbi-officials-from-entering-commissioner-rajeev-kumars-home/article26167830.ece