West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sitting on her 'Save the Constitution' dharna after CBI raids Kolkata Police Commissioner's residence. PTI Photo
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sitting on her 'Save the Constitution' dharna after CBI raids Kolkata Police Commissioner's residence. PTI Photo

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate in the investigation arising out of the chit fund scam, while making it clear that he will not be arrested. The apex court also said that “to avoid all unnecessary controversy”, it is further directing the commissioner to appear before the CBI sleuths at a neutral venue in Shillong, Meghalaya, on dates that may be fixed by the agency.

Immediately after the directive, both sides claimed victory and Mamata Banerjee even called off her dharna. She said she was calling off the dharna after consulting leaders of major opposition parties and following “a favourable court order”. The entire episode seems to have played out to Mamata’s advantage. The grand opposition alliance has got a shot in the arm and TDP chief and Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu shared the stage with her.

Significantly, he said that the Bengal CM will be the main face of the opposition. He further predicted that the TMC will win all 42 seats in the state in the Lok Sabha election. Earlier, on Monday, Tejashwi Yadav of RJD and Kanimozhi of DMK had called on her. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in turn, also hailed the order as a great moral victory for the CBI which had tried without success to question Rajeev Kumar at his home in Kolkata on Sunday.

He underscored the importance of conducting an investigation as lakhs of investors had been looted; meanwhile, continuing with the onslaught, Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who hails from Bengal, accused Mamata of protecting a corrupt police officer because he had documents that could implicate the closest of her aides.

At a press conference at the BJP headquarters, Union Minister Smriti Irani said Mamata should reflect on the Supreme Court’s rap on her knuckles as the court wants a free and fair probe which her government was obstructing. However, an unfazed Mamata continued to hail the Supreme Court’s decision as a “victory of democracy.”

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