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Rahul, oppn leaders extend support to Mamata’s dharna against Centre; CPI (M) calls it ‘drama’

A CBI team on Sunday evening reached Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s official residence at Loudon Street to question him in connection with the infamous chit fund scam.


Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several other opposition leaders on Sunday extended their full support to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her sit-in against the Centre over CBI move in the state, saying the happenings in Bengal were part of the unrelenting attack on India’s institutions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK leader M K Stalin were among leaders who expressed their solidarity with Banerjee in tweets.

However, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury attacked both Banerjee and the BJP accusing both of “drama”.

Gandhi, who spoke to Banerjee, said in a tweet that the “entire opposition will stand together and defeat these fascist forces.”

“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 Modi and the BJP. The entire opposition will stand together and defeat these fascist forces,” he said.

Kejriwal called Modi-Shah duo’s action is against democracy.

“Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy,” Kejriwal said.

Yadav, who also spoke to Banerjee, extended RJD’s support, “BJP has not only venomous and nefarious agenda against opposition leaders but Indian Administrative Service and Police Officers. Might visit Kolkata tomorrow,” he said.

Naidu said the Modi led BJP is losing all hope after opposition parties started uniting and started to fight together to save democracy.

“The misuse of institutions by the union government to victimise political opponents in States is reaching dangerous proportions. 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.”

Abdullah said he spoke to Banerjee to convey the support of National Conference to her protest.

“The use of the CBI as a political tool has crossed all limits as has the Modi government’s misuse of institutions. A former CM having such little regard for India’s federalism is shocking,” he said.

Stalin said he stood with Banerjee in her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy. “The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government.”

However, Yechury said that corruption cases against TMC government in chit fund scam have been public for years but the Modi government chose to stay quiet as the top mastermind of the scam joined BJP.

“It does a drama to act now, after 5 years, and TMC leadership responds by staging a drama to protect its corrupt. This drama in Kolkata by BJP and TMC is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption. CPI(M) has fought both these undemocratic, corrupt, communal and dictatorial regimes in the Centre and the state and will continue to do so,” he said.

In an unprecedented confrontation with the Modi government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee began a ‘Save the Constitution’ dharna at Dharmatala on Sunday evening after a group of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers reached Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s official residence at Loudon Street to question him in connection with the infamous chit fund scam.

Banerjee has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of trying to organise a coup in the state.

The CBI team, led by deputy superintendent Tathagata Bardhan, had reached Kumar’s residence around evening, a day after it was reported that the agency was “looking for” him in connection with its probe into the chit fund scam.

Quoting CBI sources, several media reports had said Kumar, a 1989 batch IPS officer, might be arrested in the case if he did not respond to the agency’s summons.

CBI Joint Director Pankaj Srivastava confirmed that a team had gone to Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence to question him on Sunday and said they “would have rounded him up if he hadn’t cooperated”.

The team was however stopped from entering the house by the police who whisked them away to a police station.

An intensified drama was witnessed near Kumar’s residence as there emerged reports of a scuffle between the police personnel and the CBI team.

Soon, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached Kumar’s residence and castigated the Centre, alleging political vindictiveness.

She alleged that National Security Adviser Ajit Doval was directing the CBI to harass political opponents on the orders from the PM.

“I feel ashamed to talk to such a prime minister who has blood on his hands,” she said.

Giving a clean chit to Kumar, she said in a subsequent tweet: “The Kolkata Police Commissioner is among the best in the world. His integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned. He is working 24×7 and was on leave for only one day recently. When you spread lies, the lies will always remain lies”.

Wondering if the Centre wanted to impose President’s Rule in West Bengal, the CM said she would not attend the Assembly proceedings on Monday when the State Budget would be presented. She described the evolving situation as an “emergency”.

(With agency inputs)