CBI vs Kolkata Police HIGHLIGHTS: The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal got a major relief from the Supreme Court Tuesday as the top court restrained the CBI from taking coercive steps against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, including arresting him. The court, however, issued notice to the West Bengal government on the CBI’s petition.
The central agency has accused Kumar of “non-cooperation” in its investigation in the Saradha chit funds case and alleged he “destroyed, destructed and tampered with the material primary evidence” while handing over the same to the agency. A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will hear the matter again on February 20.
In an affidavit to the Supreme Court Tuesday, the CBI accused Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar of “conniving with the accused/potential accused persons” and was “actively subverting the investigation process”. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, welcomed the verdict and said it was a victory of the people.
Follow LIVE UPDATES in Bangla: নগরপালের বাড়িতে সিবিআই, ধর্নায় মমতা
Centre vs West Bengal: Supreme Court verdict on CBI's petition against Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar. Follow live updates in Bangla
Mamata Banerjee calls off dharna, calls it as victory of democracy
Mamata Banerjee called off the dharna today and termed it as a victory for the Constitution and democracy. She further intends to take up the issue next week in Delhi. The West Bengal chief minister asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resign instead and return to Gujarat where she believes is a "One man govt, one party government".
"This dharna (Save the Constitution) is victory for the Constitution and democracy, so, let us end it today. The Court gave a positive judgement today. PM you resign from Delhi and go back to Gujarat. One man govt, one party government is there," said Mamata Banerjee as quoted by ANI.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, present at the occasion, vouched to continue till NDA put a stop to the "harassment". "NDA government wants to divide India, we want to unite India. We will not stop here, we will continue till they stop this harassment," said Naidu, ANI quoted as saying.
Chandrababu Naidu meets Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu meets Mamata Banerjee at the stage where she has been sitting on 'Save the Constitution' dharna. Naidu says he supports Banerjee's protest and attacks Modi government.
Naidu called Mamata Banerjee as the "architect" of the federal front and claimed that she would win all 42 seats in West Bengal. "She (Mamata Banerjee) is the architect of the federal front. She is the main pillar of the opposition. She will win all the 42 seats in West Bengal and will be in a decision making position at the national level," PTI quoted Naidu as saying.
Naidu in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Express photo)
Nothing more shameful for democracy than a CM sitting on dharna: Yogi Adityanath
On reaching Purulia, Yogi Adityanath took pot shots at West Bengal chief minister and said, "Nothing can be more shameful for a democracy than a Chief Minister sitting on a dharna." During his speech, Uttar Pradesh chief minister also promised to rid the state of TMC's goons and claimed that Bengal should be the land of BJP. "Development is not Mamata Banerjee's priority and we shall throw the state's corrupt government out," said Adityanath.
Due to 'undemocratic' activities, 'sanyasi' like me not allowed in WB: Yogi Adityanath
On his way to Purulia, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said due to "undemocratic and unconstitutional activities" in the state, a "sanyasi" like himself was being denied permission to visit Bengal, ANI quoted as saying.
"This (West Bengal) government is embroiled in undemocratic and unconstitutional activities and that is the reason why a 'sanyasi' and 'yogi' like me is not being allowed to step on the soil of Bengal," said Adityanath.
Had agreement with chopper company, they backed out on Feb 1: Mamata Banerjee
On CM Adityanath's chopper being denied permission to land in West Bengal, state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee clarified that an agreement was signed with a helicopter company on January 15, however, the company backed out and informed on February 1 that choppers would not be provided, ANI quoted as saying.
"I won't take names, we had got into an agreement with a helicopter company. We had done advance booking, agreement was signed on Jan 15. It is sad that they informed us on Feb 1 that they will not provide us the helicopters, they backed out," said Banerjee.
MHA directs Bengal govt to start disciplinary action against state top cop
Home Ministry directs West Bengal government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for violation of all India service rules.
Breaking: Home Ministry asks @MamataOfficial government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Kolkata Police commissioner #RajeevKumar for indiscipline and violation of All India Service Rules. @IndianExpress— rahul tripathi (@rahultripathi) February 5, 2019
CM Banerjee's political histrionics brought down by SC: Smriti Irani
Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani said Mamata Banerjee's political histrionics have been brought to a screeching halt by the Supreme Court, quoted as saying by PTI. Irani pointed out to the "lawlesness" in West Bengal and terming CM Banerjee an "anarchist", she said Banerjee "intervened in the process of collection of evidence by officers, upon whose instructions officers were heckled, manhandled and detained, their families harassed, their homes surrounded," as ANI reported.
Union Minister Smriti Irani on Supreme Court order on West Bengal CBI matter: With egg on her face, to celebrate it as a moral victory is a dichotomy that is only available in the realms of Mamata Banerjee's politics. pic.twitter.com/eQ0vAO0iiW— ANI (@ANI) February 5, 2019
TMC, BJP hand in gloves in sharing spoils of ponzi scam: Yechury
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Supreme Court order showed both the BJP and the TMC its place and that the two parties were hand in gloves in "sharing the spoils" of the chit fund scam. Yechury said he did not find anything wrong in the way the CBI had embarked on the investigation into the scam in Kolkata. "In this instance when the judiciary orders the CBI to investigate a case, the CBI's movement in the investigation into any state or territory cannot be construed as an attack on the authority or the powers of the state government," he told reporters.
Rajya Sabha adjourned for second day in a row
Rajya Sabha proceedings were washed out for the second day in a row on Tuesday amid protests by Opposition parties, including TMC, SP and Congress, over alleged misuse of the CBI in West Bengal. As soon as the House resumed proceedings in the afternoon, members of the TMC, SP and Congress trooped into the well, raising slogans like "Save Constitution, Save Nation".
Shahnawaz Hussain denied permission for Murshidabad rally
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain has been denied permission to hold a rally in Murshidabad in West Bengal.
Ask Yogi to take care of Uttar Pradesh first: Mamata Banerjee
Even as uncertainty prevailed over Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's Purulia rally in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fired a salvo at the BJP leader, asking him to take care of matters related to his state first. “Ask Yogi to take care of Uttar Pradesh first. So many people have been killed, even police were murdered, so many people were lynched, he himself will lose if he contests elections. He doesn’t have a place to stand in UP that’s why he’s roaming around in Bengal,” she said. READ FULL STORY HERE
Mamata Banerjee at the protest site in Kolkata on Tuesday. (Express photo)
Who is Mamata Ji scared of: Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Former Madhya Pradesh chief mister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is set to address a public gathering in West Bengal, said the Constitution permits all political parties to present their stand before the public. "Who is Mamata Ji scared of? I have a rally in Berhampore tomorrow but I have been informed that the permission for my chopper's landing&rally's venue has not been given.," he added. (ANI)
CBI vs West Bengal: Himanta Biswa Sharma calls Mamata's campaign against him 'frivolous'
Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has called the campaign against him by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee "frivolous and baseless", adding that he is not "fortunate enough like your police commissioner". The minister had been summoned by the CBI and his home raided as part of its investigation in the Saradha scam. However, he was not named in any chargesheet. Both Roy and Sarma joined the BJP during the probe.
The frivolous & baseless campaign by @MamataOfficial Didi against me is very painful. I am not fortunate enough like your Police Commissioner. I've joined the investigations and offered my full cooperation as a witness. And all this happened much much before I joined @BJP4India— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) February 5, 2019
Moral victory for CBI: Ravi Shankar Prasad on SC order on Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called the SC order a "moral victory for CBI." Asking Opposition not to "politicise" the issue, Shankar said: " Today we've to ask larger questions on behalf of the party. Lakhs of small investors were cheated. Is it not our moral obligation for an investigation? Why is Mamata ji silent on this? Why are the other political parties silent on this? This order was given by SC to investigate the conspiracy angle & also money laundering angle. This investigation must be done in a fair manner. Let's not politicise it."
Centre vs Mamata | Fight against govt's attempt to discredit autonomous bodies, says Mallikarjun Kharge
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the Centre of "settling scores with the opposition after interfering in autonomous bodies." Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Kharge said: "We are fighting against those elements. It is not about an individual, an officer or a party, we are fighting against govt's attempt to discredit autonomous bodies," reported ANI.
Centre vs West Bengal | Mamata calls SC order 'victory of Opposition'
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her stand is “vindicated” after the Supreme Court’s order on Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar. She added that it was a "victory of our forces, our democracy and our Constitution" and "a victory of the Opposition”. Mamata added: “The government is trying to arrest everyone. They are putting everyone in jail. We will continue to fight against this and the Opposition is united on this. We thank the Opposition parties which have supported us and stood by us.” Read full report here.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her dharna in Kolkata on Tuesday (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)
Saradha chit fund probe: SC prevents Kumar's arrest, issues notice to Bengal govt
Here's a recap of what just happened in the Supreme Court: The apex court has prevented the arrest of Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar, but asked him to cooperate with the CBI's investigation in a "neutral" place — Shillong. The SC has also sought response from the West Bengal Chief Secretary, DGP and Kumar by February 18. The case will be taken up on February 20.
In court, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI, said that developments in the state showed “total breakdown of constitutional machinery”.
In Parliament, TMC MPs cheer SC order on CBI plea against Rajeev Kumar
Trinamool Congress MPs in Parliament rejoiced when the CBI verdict came in this morning.
MPs of @AITCofficial shouted in joy in LS saying it’s their victory. The house was adjourned till 12 after they disrupted the Q H. After the SC order came an was heard saying “we shouldn’t let the house run for the entire day” @IndianExpress https://t.co/feV0eMZD3e— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) February 5, 2019
SC order on CBI police chief: Mamata welcomes verdict
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has welcomed the SC order on Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar. Saying it is a "victory of the people", Mamata said our stand has been vindicated.
Today's victory is not ours alone, it is a victory of the people, victory of "Save India": Mamata Banerjee— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) February 5, 2019
Centre vs West Bengal: SC issues notice on CBI plea
The Supreme Court has issued notice to the West Bengal government on the CBI's petition alleging that its officers were mistreated by the Kolkata police. It has also directed Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI at a “neutral place” — in Shillong.
Asks WB Chief Secetary, DGP and Kumar to file their replies to the CBI’s contempt petition by 18th. Says it will decide if their personal presence is required after going through their replies. @IndianExpress— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) February 5, 2019
Mamata vs Centre: Calcutta HC adjourns hearing
As the Supreme Court is hearing a petition by the CBI against Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar, the Calcutta High Court has adjourned hearing in the case till Thursday. It said the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, reports PTI.
CBI files affidavit against Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar
The CBI has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging that Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar of “non-cooperation” in its investigation in the Saradha chit funds case and said he “destroyed, destructed and tampered with the material primary evidence” while handing over the same to the agency. Kumar headed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the case, which was handed over to the CBI on direction from the Supreme Court. The CBI has said Kumar was “conniving with the accused/potential accused persons” and was “actively subverting the investigation process”.
West Bengal vs Centre: Mamata continues dharna on Tuesday
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continues her protest in Kolkata following the CBI's attempt to interrogate Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. (Express Photo: Shashi Ghosh)
Explained: What is the Saradha scam?
The Indian Express explains: The Saradha Group was set up by businessman Sudipto Sen in the early 2000s. It used a consortium of companies to tap small investors, promising them very high returns. Like in a classic Ponzi scheme, money was collected through a wide network of agents, who were paid commissions of over 25%.
In a few years, Saradha’s raised about Rs 2,500 crore. After the scheme collapsed in 2013, Mamata set up a SIT to probe the case — headed by Rajeev Kumar — while the CBI and ED conducted their own investigations. In May 2014, the Supreme Court transferred all cases to the CBI, given the inter-state nature of the alleged scam.
How are Trinamool Congress and the Kolkata police chief connected? Read The Saradha Story here
Express Editorial on Centre vs Mamata: The spectacle
An editorial in The Indian Express reads: The BJP government at the Centre must know that both the manner and timing of the CBI action in West Bengal reek of a politics of vendetta against a political opponent. In the longer term, the Kolkata vaudeville carries troubling consequences in a constitutional democracy. In its visible undermining of due process, it threatens to deepen distrust and strengthen cynicism.
Centre vs West Bengal | Arun Jaitley targets Mamata, Opposition in new blog
Union minister Arun Jaitley, in a new blog post on Facebook, has slammed Mamata Banerjee for her "disproportionate over-reaction to the CBI" wanting to interrogate the Kolkata police commissioner.
He has also targeted leaders of the Opposition, saying most of them, or their affiliates are today being investigated, prosecuted and in some cases have also been convicted for crimes of corruption.
Calling them the "new Kleptocrat’s Club", Jaitley says, "Mamata Banerjee’s latest acrobatics are the best evidence of the kind of governance India’s opposition can provide."
Recap: CBI plea in the Supreme Court on Monday
The CBI approached the Supreme Court Monday saying it “apprehends” Kumar is “destroying electronic evidence” and he should be directed to “immediately surrender/make himself available” for investigation.
During the hearing, the bench led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said it found "nothing" in the plea to substantiate apprehension about destruction of evidence. However, the CJI added, “if you (CBI) can lay down any material… forget that he (police commissioner) is doing, that he is even remotely thinking, we will come down so heavily on him that he will regret it”.
The matter will come up for hearing at 10.30 am this morning. Here's what went down in the Supreme Court on Monday.
Centre vs West Bengal: What to watch out for today
As the drama between the Centre and West Bengal continues to unfold, here is what we're watching out for today.
* The Supreme Court will take up for hearing at 10.30 am the CBI's petition against Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar
* The Calcutta High Court will hear the West Bengal government's plea against the CBI's attempt to question Kumar.
* The HC had declined an urgent hearing MondayWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continues to sit on dharna in Kolkata. She has alleged "misuse of police to take control of the police and all other institutions".