Churning in the West

What is happening in West Bengal is certainly not good for the whole of the country. India is an Union of States and there should be mutual respect and understanding between the Central and the State governments. Crossing the limit is not expected from any of the parties. However, the face-off between CBI and Kolkata policemen outside the police commissioner’s official residence Sunday has brought shame to the State and the Centre. There was high drama in front of Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence as a group of CBI officers approached the house, but they were stopped by Kolkata police personnel, who also forcibly took the federal probe agency officers to a police station.

While a Kolkata police officer said, “They told us that they were CBI officers and when asked to produce documents, they failed to submit these. They could not give us any satisfactory response,” a CBI officer said, “We were not given any cooperation and have all the documents. Our officers came for the operations and we were taken to a police station forcibly. We sought police protection which was denied. They did not accept any request. We are intending to submit an application but they were not ready to accept it.” Making things worse, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in support of the commissioner, started a ‘Save the Constitution’ dharna and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of plotting a coup.

Rajeev Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, was heading a special investigation team on the Saradha and Rose Valley scams. The CBI wanted the top officer to hand over the seizure list made during his probe, it is said. Kumar was to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he was not responding to notices to appear before the agency. Kumar, according to media reports, became apprehensive of his arrest after Bengali film producer Shrikant Mohita was taken into custody. No one is above the law. If the CBI wants to question a top-ranking officer in a sensitive case, it would be only fair for the State government to allow the Central agency to do its duty. At the same time, the Union government should not (mis)use its agencies for political reasons.

NT Bureau