Bengal Govt action against CBI a threat to federal system: Rajnath
As the face-off between the BJP and the TMC on the issue of the CBI attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the chit-fund scam blew into a full-scale political war, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday hit hard at the TMC saying there may be constitutional breakdown in West Bengal. He added the Central Government is vested with power to take steps to restore normalcy in any part of the country.
The Home Minister accused the TMC of damaging the Constitution by having stopped CBI officials from performing their lawful duties.
Rajnath told the Lok Sabha that it was “unprecedented” that the CBI was stopped from lawfully doing its duty when it wanted to question the Kolkata police chief regarding the chit fund scam on Sunday. He said the CBI team wanted to question Kumar as he is “not cooperating” in the case.
Making a statement in the Lok Sabha on the prevailing situation in Kolkata, Rajnath described the action against the CBI probe team a threat to the federal system of the country.
“There may be constitutional breakdown in West Bengal… under the Constitution, the Central Government has been vested with the power to maintain normalcy in any part of the country,” he said.
“Whatever happened on Sunday, it indicates constitutional breakdown,” he said.
Rajnath said the Supreme Court has ordered a probe into the Saradha chit-fund scam and that there was money laundering and a political nexus also. He said lakhs of people have been affected in the scam, where FIR been lodged in 2014.
He hoped that the West Bengal Government as well as other State Governments will provide conducive atmosphere for law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties.
Rejecting the Opposition charge that the CBI’s move to question Kumar amounted to an attack on the federal structure by the Modi Government, BJP leader and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it cannot be cited as a shield to save the corrupt and asserted that the agency acted as per law.
Speaking to reporters, Prasad took a swipe at the unity among Opposition parties against the CBI action, describing it as an “alliance of the corrupt”, and said its “soldiers” from Bihar to Uttar Pradesh, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, are facing probe in different cases of corruption.
Mamata has defied all norms to sit on a dharna in Kolkata, Rajnath said, adding that the police commissioner’s decision to join her protest was unprecedented and was in violation of norms guiding police officers’ conduct.
He said Mamata kept quiet when many of her Trinamool Congress leaders, including MPs, were arrested but has started a dharna to support a police officer. It seems the police commissioner knows a lot of secrets, Prasad said.
“These suspicious circumstances clearly indicate that the police commissioner knows a lot and therefore needed to be saved by the Chief Minister,” Prasad said.
The BJP which is seeking to make aggressive inroads into the TMC’s political turf in the West Bengal on Monday also moved the Election Commission (EC) to “ensure free and fair” Lok Sabha elections in the State as it claimed the TMC was not allowing its public rallies and political programmes in the State .
A high-level BJP delegation submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission to highlight instances that show that the TMC does not “believe” in democracy, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was also a member of the group, told reporters.
Besides Sitharaman, the other members of the delegation included Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and SS Ahluwalia, and BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya, Bhupender Yadav, Anil Baluni and Mukul Roy.
She claimed the TMC is rattled by the BJP’s growth in West Bengal, which is why it is restricting the saffron party’s programmes and even not allowing some rallies.
The party had on Sunday alleged that the Mamata Banerjee Government denied permission to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s chopper to land in the State and let him address two scheduled rallies.
Tuesday, 05 February 2019 | PNS | New Delhi
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