New Delhi: A day after the Chandrababu Naidu government in Andhra Pradesh and Mamata Banerjee-led West Benagal government withdrew the ‘general consent’ accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct raids and carry out investigations in the states, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday hit back at the duo saying those who had a lot to hide would fear the probe agency. Notably, the Finance Minister was speaking to reporters in Bhopal after releasing the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly election 2018, scheduled for November 28. Also Read - After Opening Sweet Shops, Mamata Govt to Allow Home Delivery of Liquor During Lockdown
“It is only those who have a lot to hide will take the step of saying let the CBI not come to my state. There is no sovereignty of any state in the matter of corruption. It is believed that Andhra’s move is not motivated by any particular case, but by the fear of what is likely to happen. I am not saying anything more than that at the moment,” ” Jaitley said in response to a query. Also Read - Mamata Ropes in Abhijit Banerjee on COVID-19 Advisory Panel For West Bengal
He added, “We have a federal structure in India and under that federal structure, the CBI was created initially for the employees of the central government and then, to investigate certain kinds of very serious cases in the states, which were referred to it either by the states or courts.” Also Read - Trinamool to Boycott PM Modi's First All-Party Video Meet on Covid-19 Situation
Referring to the alleged Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation, he said, “Saradha and Narada in West Bengal cannot be wiped off merely by saying that for the future, I de-notify the CBI.”
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Punjab will follow the footsteps of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh and may revoke the free pass or general consent to country’s top probe agency to conduct raids and carry out investigations in the state.
However, media advisor to Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, Raveen Thukral, refuted the reports asserting “No move to withdraw general consent to CBI by Punjab. Any decision in this regard will be taken by the party’s central leadership for all the Congress-ruled states.”
Notably, the move by TDP-ruled Andhra Pradesh and TMC-ruled West Bengal has escalated the political fight between non-BJP ruled states and Narendre Modi -led government ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.