New Delhi: Opposition parties on Sunday extended their support to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee amidst an ongoing row over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials’ detention by West Bengal police. A high drama was witnessed at Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s official residence in Kolkata on Sunday evening as group CBI officers reached to question him in connection with chit fund scams. Reportedly, five officials were detained and taken to police stations. (CHECK LIVE UPDATES HERE)
News agency ANI reported that leaders Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar, and Arvind Kejriwal spoke to Mamata Banerjee over the phone and expressed solidarity.
Congress said 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.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her. The happenings in Bengal are a part of the unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by Mr. Modi & the BJP. The entire opposition will stand together & defeat these fascist forces.”
Meanwhile, Banerjee wrapped in a brown woollen shawl began to sit in protest. She accused BJP of torturing Bengal. “They are forcibly trying to destroy Bengal just because I did brigade rally. Yesterday you saw the language of PM where he threatened,” she had said.
PTI reported, Banerjee, one of the prime movers behind the effort to cobble together an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, claimed the CBI knocked on the doors of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar without a search warrant. She asked all opposition parties to unite to bring down the Modi government and, in a rare exhortation by a political leader, called upon personnel of security forces of the Centre and states, besides the Army, to “condemn” the attitude of the Modi government.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy.”
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav wrote, “Spoke to respected @MamataOfficial ji. Extended RJD’s support, BJP has not only venomous & nefarious agenda against opposition leaders but Indian Administrative Service & Police Officers. Might visit Kolkata tomorrow.”
“The BJP wants to stay in power by hook or by crook. They are so scared of losing that CBI is being used as election agents. This is undemocratic and against the spirit of the constitution. We demand due process be followed so that CBI is not used as a tool of political interference,” tweeted Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Just spoke to @MamataOfficial didi to convey the support of @JKNC_ as she sits in dharna. The use of the CBI as a political tool has crossed all limits as has the Modi government ’s misuse of institutions. A former CM having such little regard for India’s federalism is shocking.”
It is to be noted here that the controversy erupted after the Rajeev Kumar had allegedly stopped responding to notices of the CBI. The investigating agency was asking him to appear. However, the Kolkata Police had issued a statement dismissing the CBI claims as ‘baseless’.
The Rose Valley and Saradha scams involve funds amounting to Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 2,500 crore respectively. Bengal filmmaker and distributor Shrikant Mohta was arrested by CBI officials on January 24 in the multi-crore Rose Valley chit fund scam.
On January 11, the CBI had filed charge sheet against former finance minister P Chidambaram’s wife Nalini Chidambaram in a court in Kolkata, in connection with the money laundering probe into the Saradha Ponzi scam.
(With agency inputs)