Kolkata: Both West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the BJP on Tuesday claimed moral victory over the Supreme Court order on the contempt petition filed by the CBI in the Saradha chit fund scam case.
The top court directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI for investigation and “faithfully” cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe.
The apex court said Kumar will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation at Shillong in Meghalaya and no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata Police chief, will take place during the course of the probe.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi also issued a notice to Kumar and sought his response before February 20, the next date of hearing on the allegations by the CBI that he was tampering with electronic evidence and the SIT headed by him provided the agency with doctored materials.
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Soon after the apex court’s order, both Mamata Banerjee and the BJP welcomed it and claimed that it was moral victory.
The Supreme Court’s order is a victory of the common man, democracy and the Constitution, Banerjee told reporters at the dharna venue in central Kolkata.
“There must be some story behind this. Nobody can dare to speak against (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) Modi. Our’s is a mass agitation and we are going to fight it unitedly,” the chief minister said.
Banerjee sat on a “Save India” dharna in front of Metro Cinema in the heart of Kolkata on Sunday night insisting that the latest CBI action was tantamount to stifling the spirit of “Constitution and federalism” in the country.
“We always respect the law and feel that things should run as per the law. But, if someone tries to destroy the pillars on which democracy stands, then there would be nothing left of the democratic process that we are so proud of.
“We really welcome the [Supreme Court] verdict. It is absolutely correct. Our case is very strong. We never said we will not cooperate. This is political vendetta,” Banerjee said.
Meanwhile, the BJP projected the order as a blow to the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal and a moral victory for the investigating agency.
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad welcomed the order and said it’s a blow to the Mamata Banerjee government and a victory for the CBI. It also showed that nobody is above the law, including the police commissioner, he added.
The Kolkata police commissioner will appear before the CBI in Shillong as the environment is not conducive in West Bengal, Prasad said.
The Mamata Banerjee-led government in the state and BJP are at loggerheads after the CBI tried to question Kolkata’s police commissioner in connection with chit fund scams. Banerjee has been on a ‘dharna’ since Sunday night over the CBI’s attempts to interrogate the police chief.
Several opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, DMK’s Kanimozhi, RJD’s Tejaswhi Yadav, have supported Banerjee’s protest.