Long arm of law

“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.” These are the concluding words of News Today’s editorial 4 February (Churning in the West). And, the Supreme Court’s order Tuesday (5 February) was exactly on these lines.

“Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar cannot be arrested but he has to appear before the CBI, make available all evidence and cooperate with investigations into chit fund scams in West Bengal,” the apex court said. The CBI went to the Supreme Court Monday, after its team that arrived at Rajeev Kumar’s Kolkata home was blocked by the police, bundled into buses and detained for a few hours. The dramatic developments Sunday evening led to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launching an indefinite sit-in to protest the CBI’s action against her police chief, calling it a “constitutional breakdown”.

The Supreme Court order has come at the right time and has put an end to a big crisis. Rajeev Kumar can’t escape from the probe now. At the same time, the CBI can only question him but can’t arrest him. The Kolkata police chief is at the heart of a huge showdown between the CBI and Mamata Banerjee. Officials should not allow political shadow to fall on them. But, this is almost unavoidable thanks to the prevailing political system in the country. The charges being made against Kumar are shocking and he should prove his innocence.

NT Bureau