Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced to end her sit-in, while calling it a “victory of the Constitution and democracy”. She has been sitting on dharna since Sunday evening to protest against the against the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams.
Banerjee said she was doing so after consulting leaders of major opposition parties and following “a favourable court order”.
“This dharna (Save the Constitution) is victory for the Constitution and democracy, so, let us end it today,” said Banerjee, accompanied by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu at the dharna site in Kolkata.
Making the announcement, Banerjee also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and called the leadership at the Centre as “one man government, one party government”.
“They (Central govt) want to control all the agencies including the state agencies also? PM you resign from Delhi and go back to Gujarat. One man govt, one party government is there,” she said.
“The Court gave a positive judgement today. Next week, we will continue to take up the issue in Delhi,” she added.
Banerjee said she has “great respect” for the CBI and urged it to speed up its probe into theft of the Nobel medal of Rabindranath Tagore with the same alacrity with which, she alleged, the agency executes the orders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah.
She said once the people who are being blackmailed by the BJP join the saffron party, the cases lodged against them by the central agencies are dismissed.
“Once you join the BJP, then there will be no cases. There will be no CBI, no ED, no I-T (Income Tax Department) against you,” she said.
Banerjee, who came to power in West Bengal riding the crest of the anti-farmland acquisition wave at Singur and Nandigram, alleged that political vendetta is working behind the CBI going slow on its investigations into the Tapasi Malik’s death at Singur and into the Nandigram killings.
Malik, a teenager and part of the Trinamool Congress-led Save Farmland Committee, was raped and killed at Singur in December 2006 during the agitation against the acquisition of farm land by the government for Tata Motors’ small car factory.
The failed attempt by the CBI to question Kumar in connection with the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams on Sunday became the latest flashpoint between the BJP-led Centre and Banerjee, one of its bitter critics. The CBI has accused Kumar of destroying evidence related to the two fraud cases.
A CBI team was bodily prevented from entering Kumar’s residence by police personnel, bundled into vehicles, and detained. Police contingents also descended on CBI premises in Kolkata, as a furious Banerjee rushed to Kumar’s residence before beginning a dharna opposite landmark Metro Cinema.
Several opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, DMK’s Kanimozhi, RJD’s Tejaswhi Yadav, supported Banerjee’s protest.
Acting on the contempt petition filed by the CBI, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe.
It also said no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata Police chief, will take place during the course of the investigation.
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.
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.