New Delhi: Dubbing the Supreme Court direction to the Kolkata police chief to join the CBI probe into the Saradha chit fund scam a “tight slap” for the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal, the BJP Tuesday said it has brought her “political histrionics” to a screeching halt. Asserting that the order has vindicated the BJP’s stand, party leader and Union minister Smriti Irani cited the court’s direction to Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI for questioning at a “neutral place” like Shillong to claim that it shows a state of lawlessness exists in West Bengal.
The apex court said Kumar will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Shillong, Meghalaya, and no coercive step, including the arrest of the Kolkata police chief, will take place during the course of the probe. Addressing a press conference, Irani said the BJP lauds the order which, she asserted, brought “anarchist” Banerjee’s “political histrionics” to a screeching halt. She said the Supreme Court has ensured that a free and fair investigation takes place, while putting constitutional restraint on “didi ki dadagiri” (Mamata’s intimidation tactics).
Banerjee’s “manufactured protest” is an attempt to protect those who “looted” over 20 lakh investor’s money in the chit fund scam, Irani alleged. Taking a swipe at the Trinamool Congress chief after she claimed a moral victory following the court’s order, Irani said Banerjee has been left with egg on her face. “With egg on her face, to celebrate it as a moral victory is a dichotomy available only to Mamata Banerjee’s realm of politics,” the BJP leader told reporters.
After the Supreme Court’s observations on Tuesday, Banerjee had said the apex court’s direction that no coercive step, including arrest of Kumar, will take place during the course of investigation is “our moral victory”. Soon after the Supreme Court delivered the order, BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said it is 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.
Irani said the order should be a matter of introspection and concern for Banerjee and alleged the TMC government has become a symbol of anarchy and ‘goondaism’. She also cited the CBI report that Kumar had “tampered with” call records details of the suspects in the case to hit out at the officer and questioned on whose direction he and his subordinates did so. Banerjee had started a a sit-in from Sunday evening against the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scam. She called it off Tuesday evening.
Mocking the get-together of different opposition parties leaders at the site of Banerjee’s dharna, Irani said it has become a podium for all “scamsters”, for all those who don’t believe in law and support “state-sponsored anarchy”. Responding to the West Bengal chief minister’s claim that the court’s bar on arrest of Kumar was a victory for her stand, Irani said the CBI never said in its communication to Kumar that it wants to arrest him.
Why is she (Banerjee) “hell bent” on political histrionics, Irani wondered, attacking the TMC supremo and asked what is in Kumar’s possession that perturbs Banerjee, prompting her to “save” him. The TMC chief had begun 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. To a question, Irani accused the TMC of abusing the state machinery to obstruct political programmes and rallies of BJP leaders and claimed that the more she does so, more and more people are supporting the saffron party.
Describing the order as a “slap on the face” of the Mamata Banerjee-led government, top functionaries in the central government said it is quite apparent that the court has taken a dim view of the Kolkata Police commissioner and the entire top bureaucracy of the Mamata government. Emphasising that the conduct of the TMC government’s senior officers is being watched, the functionaries, citing the order, said the apex court has asked the Kolkata Police chief “to faithfully cooperate with the investigating agency at all times”.