After two days of high voltage political drama, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee finally called off the dharna in Kolkata as the Supreme Court granted city police chief Rajeev Kumar protection from arrest by the CBI on Tuesday. Withdrawing her sit-in protests, hours after the apex court verdict, Banerjee said, “The court gave a positive judgement today. It is a victory of the Constitution and democracy. So let us end it today”
Lashing out at the Centre, the TMC chief said that it wants to control all the agencies. She also asked prime minister Narendra Modi to resign. “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,” said Banerjee who sat on dharna on Sunday hours after a team of CBI officers reached Rajeev Kumar’s house to question him in chit fund scams case.
Accusing the BJP of “blackmailing” people by misusing CBI, Banerjee said she has “great respect” for the probe agency 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.
The protests by Banerjee was supported by many opposition leaders who also hit out at the Modi government for “misuse of CBI”. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu joined Banerjee’s protests on Tuesday evening. Naidu, who joined Banerjee’s “Save India” sit-in, said her party will win all 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the upcoming general elections. “She (Mamata Banerjee) is the architect of the federal front. She is the main pillar of the opposition,” Naidu told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court directed Kolkata Police chief to appear before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate in the probe into the Saradha chit fund scam. The court directed that Kumar will appear before the CBI for investigation at Shillong, the Meghalaya capital, and no coercive steps, including his arrest, will take place during the course of the probe. The court’s direction was claimed as a moral victory by both Banerjee and Centre.
The tense stand-off between the CBI and the Kolkata police also disrupted proceedings in Parliament for the second consecutive day amid protests by opposition parties, including the TMC, SP and Congress over alleged misuse of the CBI in West Bengal.