West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna to “save the constitution” after a huge showdown between the police and officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI officers wanted to question Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar in two Ponzi schemes, but the CBI officials who turned up at Mr Kumar’s home were taken to a local police station and allegedly detained. “There is total constitutional breakdown. It is my job to protect my officers,” the Chief Minister told reporters in the evening. “They (the BJP) cannot fight is politically. That’s why they are resorting to all this… Mr (Ajit) Doval is doing whatever PM wants him to do, he is the one giving all the instructions to CBI,” she said.
Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien alleged that the BJP was planning a “constitutional coup.” Opposition leaders have also spoken out in support of Ms Banerjee, with RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav saying the state government had to take the move due to “political decisions” the CBI had been taking at the BJP’s behest. Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also slammed the centre for the showdown in Kolkata. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also criticized the CBI’s ation.
The CBI officers, who were released later, are planning to meet the Governor. Ms Banerjee is sitting on dharna at the designated spot for protests in Central Kolkata, accompanied by Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar.
Here are the live updates on the Kolkata Police-CBI clash and Mamata Banerjee’s dharna:
I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her.
The happenings in Bengal are a part of the unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by Mr Modi & the BJP.
The entire opposition will stand together & defeat these fascist forces.
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 3, 2019
In solidarity with @MamataOfficial
History stands testament to how JK has faced the wrath of central agencies. Its disheartening to see how institutions are being hijacked only to discredit political opponents . Doesn’t bode well for the Centre – State relationship .
– Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 3, 2019
We strongly condemn the incidents happening in Kolkata, a glaring example of how Modi-Shah duo are destroying the institutions. Attacking political opponents in different States, few days before the Parliament elections commence, will have disastrous consequences in the country.
– N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) February 3, 2019
The highest levels of the BJP leadership are doing the worst kind of political vendetta. Not only are political parties their targets, they are misusing power
to take control of the police and destroy all institutions. We condemn this 1/2
– Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 3, 2019
Rajeev Kumar was asked to help with the investigation when several key documents of the cases allegedly went missing. CBI sources said he had received several summons for questioning over the last two years.