Kolkata: A political firestorm raged in West Bengal’s Kolkata as CM Mamata Banerjee’s sit-in protest against CBI’s attempt to grill Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in chit fund scam cases entered the third day on Tuesday. The chief minister declared her agitation to save the “Constitution and country” will continue till February 8.
The Supreme Court Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate with the agency in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe. The apex court said Kumar will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation at Shillong in Meghalaya.
The apex court also said no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata Police chief, will take place during the course of the investigation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi also issued a notice to Kumar and sought his response before February 20, the next date of hearing on the allegations by the CBI that he was tampering with electronic evidence and that the SIT headed by him provided the agency with doctored materials. The court directed Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and “faithfully cooperate” in the Saradha scam probe.
On Monday, the CBI filed a contempt plea in the apex court against West Bengal Chief Secretary, Director General of Police and Kolkata Police Commissioner for wilful and deliberate violation of the apex court orders. A three-judge SC bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna will hear the pleas. Meanwhile, Rajeev Kumar is said to have moved the Calcutta High Court against the issue.
Virtually all opposition parties rallied behind Banerjee’s direct confrontation with the Modi government, even as the BJP called it an “alliance of corrupt” and Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that developments in West Bengal were indicative of a “breakdown of the Constitution”.
Trinamool workers took to streets burning effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah and blocked trains, while the BJP lined up its top leaders to step up the counter-offensive against Banerjee and other opposition leaders.