CBI seeks time from West Bengal Governor to discuss issue after faceoff with state govt

In a new development, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday sought time from West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to discuss the ongoing issue hours after after a CBI team that had gone to question Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar and was detained in a rare face-off between the police establishments of the Centre and the state.

Following this West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee began a sit-in protest at a city landmark over the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams, insisting it stifled the spirit of “Constitution and federalism”.

In a dramatic showdown with the Modi government, a furious Banerjee, wrapped in a brown woollen shawl, began a sit-in right in front of the Metro Cinema to protest “insults” she faced at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, hours after a CBI team that had gone to question Kumar was detained in a rare face-off between the police establishments of the Centre and the state.

Banerjee, one of the prime movers behind the effort to cobble together an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, claimed the CBI knocked on the doors of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar without a search warrant.

Banerjee asked all opposition parties to unite to bring down the Modi government and, in a rare exhortation by a political leader, called upon personnel of security forces of the Centre and states, besides the Army, to “condemn” the attitude of the Modi government.

The fast-paced development started unfolding as soon as a team of 40-odd agency officers arrived at Kumar’s residence at Loudon Street in central Kolkata this afternoon, but they were stopped by sentries and officials.

CBI joint director Pankaj Srivastava said the agency’s officials had gone to question Kumar in chit fund scam cases and “we would have rounded him up if he hadn’t cooperated with us”.

According to the CBI, Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre who led a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the scams, needs to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he has not responded to notices to appear before the agency.

A day earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that Kumar had been “absconding” and “being looked for” in connection with Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scam cases.

As the CBI team landed at the city police chief’s residence, a team of Kolkata Police officers rushed to the spot to speak to the CBI officials and tried to inquire if they the documents required for questioning Kumar. Later on, a small team of CBI officials was taken to Shakespeare Sarani police station for further discussions.

Thereafter, more men arrived at the spot and a commotion ensued. Some CBI officers were then forcibly bundled into police jeeps, taken to a police station.

Speaking at the dharna site, Banerjee said leaders of several opposition parties have called her up to extend their support and solidarity towards her “fight to protect the Constitution”. “Leaders of various opposition parties, including Akhilesh Yadav Samajwadi Party), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Omar Abdullah (NC), Ahmed Patel (Congress) and M K Stalin (DMK), have called me to extend their solidarity and support,” she said.