TMC leaders including Derek O’Brien and others detained during protest, party demands removal of CBI, ED, I-T, NIA chiefs

The leaders had come knocking at the Election Commission’s door, complaining about the “unholy nexus” between BJP and the National Investigation Agency

Updated - April 09, 2024 09:06 am IST

Published - April 08, 2024 06:55 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi Police detains Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen, who was sitting on a protest outside the Election Commission of India office, in New Delhi on April 8, 2024.

Delhi Police detains Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen, who was sitting on a protest outside the Election Commission of India office, in New Delhi on April 8, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Delhi Police detained leaders of the Trinamool Congress minutes after they sat on a protest at the Election Commission’s office on Monday. The leaders had come knocking at the poll panel’s door, complaining about the “unholy nexus” between BJP and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, Rajya Sabha MPs Nadimul Haque, Dola Sen, Saket Gokhale, Sagarika Ghose and former MPs Vivek Gupta, Arpita Ghosh, Dr. Santanu Sen, Abir Ranjan Biswas and party leader Sudip Raha were detained.

The Trinamool has alleged that the NIA’s early-morning raids in Purba Medinipur on the houses of party workers last Saturday were carried out at the behest of local BJP leaders. The NIA, however, has said its team had gone to arrest the prime suspects in the 2022 blast case.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed an election rally in Jalpaiguri, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee traded barbs over the issue.

Also Read: NIA official suffers minor injuries in attack on team at West Bengal’s Bhupatinagar

In a memorandum submitted to the Election Commission, the party demanded that the heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and National Investigating Authority be replaced.

“Our key demand is that the Election Commission should provide a level-playing field to all parties in this election,” Rajya Sabha MP Dola Sen said, addressing the media after the meeting.

In its two-page memorandum, the party alleged that prior to the raid, the NIA SP met local BJP leader Jitendra Tiwari at the former’s residence. The agency allegedly issued notices to various Trinamool members and the raids followed after the party members declined to go to the NIA office citing prior political commitments, the Trinamool said. The raids were conducted around 3.30 a.m. on the intervening night of April 5 and April 6, the party said.

“The BJP is in complete control of the NIA and has launched an attack on Trinamool functionaries through the NIA. Such events necessitate an immediate intervention of the Election Commission to transfer the newly appointed chief of the NIA and NIA’s Mr. Dhan Ram Singh,” the memorandum said.

In the evening, Mr. O’Brien briefed reporters at the Mandir Marg Police station where he said the Trinamool’s protests will continue.

In Kolkata, the party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and other leaders went to Raj Bhawan to lodge their protest with the Governor. Slamming the police action against his colleagues in New Delhi, Mr. Banerjee wrote on X, “On Oct 2023, democracy was muzzled inside Krishi Bhavan. Today, it was attacked outside in broad daylight! With each passing day, the Bangla birodhi zamindars (anti-Bengal feudal lords) are growing violent and desperate in their bid for power. Bengal will respond fittingly!”

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