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Oppn parties slam CBI arrest of TMC leaders, ask BJP to ‘reconcile’ with Bengal poll defeat

The opposition parties asked the BJP to reconcile with its defeat in the Assembly elections and accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of acting like a BJP leader.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: May 18, 2021 7:09:14 am
CBI, KolkataCentral forces in front of the CBI office in Kolkata on Monday (Express photo)

The CBI’s move to arrest two West Bengal ministers and a Trinamool Congress MLA in Kolkata on Monday prompted the Opposition to close ranks behind Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and attack the BJP-led Centre.

The opposition parties asked the BJP to reconcile with its defeat in the Assembly elections and accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of acting like a BJP leader.

While the Congress alleged that the arrest of ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and TMC leader Madan Mitra n connection with the Narada sting tape case was a “brazen attempt” to “browbeat” Banerjee after TMC’s victory in the elections, the CPI said the “context and timing” of the arrests “raise questions whether BJP is doing it with some ulterior motive”.

The RJD alleged that Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar is acting like a BJP MLA. “He is the real leader of the Opposition in Bengal,” senior RJD leader Manoj Kumar Jha said.

“Probably the Delhi sultanate is not able to deal with the kind of defeat they had in Bengal. They are not able to come to terms with the defeat after such a high-decibel campaign,” Jha told The Indian Express. “I am not even shocked (by today’s developments) — I find it quite predictable looking at this regime’s behaviour in the last few years.

“But they must realise that all such autocratic behaviour comes with an expiry date. Their expiry date is approaching.”

Former Union minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar said, “The imprint of partisan politics is writ large in the blatant abuse of prosecutorial processes by CBI against political adversaries of BJP.” He said the arrests for alleged corruption is a “brazen attempt to browbeat” Banerjee.

“(Taking) resort to arbitrary criminal prosecution and custody of the accused by enforcement agencies to deprive citizens of their fundamental liberties is clearly against the first principles of our constitution,” Kumar said. “Detention of the accused militates against recent judgments of Supreme Court that scoff at routine incarceration of political activists.”

“The insistence by CBI on detaining the accused, who are public men of high standing and not expected to tamper with the course of justice, is clearly an abuse of authority,” the Congress leader said.

Maintaining that such actions will sully Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut said: “This should not happen. You (BJP) have lost the election…you should accept that first. The way the Centre has given authority to the CBI, I think it is a political movement. And the way the Governor is taking political interest…the country will not like it.”

Raut said, “And who are the real culprits in this case? Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari (former TMC leaders now in BJP). Their names were also in this Narada case. Has CBI called them?… The Prime Minister’s image will take a beating (due to such actions).”

CPI general secretary D Raja said BJP is “yet to reconcile with the verdict” in West Bengal elections.

Raja said: “If there was a fraud, it needs to be probed and justice must be given to the people…. We may have problems with Mamata Banerjee…that is another thing. But this is a question of Centre-state relations and of federalism. These people (BJP-led Centre) are undermining everything. The context and timing of these arrests raise questions whether BJP is doing it with some ulterior motive.”

The Governor, Raja said, is moving around the state in the name of visiting areas where violence took place. “It is unbecoming of a Governor,” he added.

On the arrests, he said, “it is known that the government is using all central agencies for political motive. Having said that, the chit fund case and other cases…whatever may be the context of these arrests, the timing of these arrests raises several questions. Nobody is justifying…there was fraud… chit fund fraud…but it did not happen in one state; it happened in several states…”

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