Mamata Banerjee vs Centre: Supreme Court to hear CBI petition on Tuesday

The political tremor started by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday to protest against the CBI’s attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with Saradha and Rose Valley chit-fund scams entered the second day. Banerjee refused to leave her “Save India, Save Democracy” dharna site on Monday and ran the state from the sit-in venue.

Banerjee held a Cabinet meeting to approve the state Budget from a police outpost adjacent to the dharna site. She also addressed a farmers’ conclave, a Trinamool Congress event held at Netaji Indoor Stadium, via Facebook Live from the site of the dharna. 

She said farmers were having sleepless nights because of the policies of the Centre. “More than 12,000 farmers have committed suicide. They have been cheated. Many farmers lost their livelihood post-demonetisation. Small farmers have become helpless,” she said.

Mamata Banerjee
Next to the dharna stage, a makeshift platform was erected for a Kolkata Police awards event where Kumar was also present. Banerjee gave away awards to police personnel and stood steadfast behind them. “So many festivals are held, but is there any untoward incident. So many people come for Durga Pujas in Kolkata. There are 1 trillion pujas in the city and 48,000 registered. Managing it all is not easy. Has there been a small incident? I am proud of my police force” she asked. 

While she said the movement was a “Save India” movement and there was “nothing political” about it, she welcomed the support pouring in from Opposition parties since Sunday evening. By late evening, RJD leader, Banerjee was joined by RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav, and DMK leader, Kanimozhi, at the dharna manch.

The CBI, meanwhile, moved the Supreme Court and the West Bengal government moved the Calcutta High Court. The SC agreed to give an urgent hearing on Tuesday to the CBI’s plea alleging destruction of electronic evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam case by Kumar and said it would come down heavily on him if he “even remotely” tried to destroy evidence.

It is understood that West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi has sent a confidential report to the Home Ministry on the situation that unfolded in the city after a CBI team was allegedly obstructed by the police from questioning Kumar.

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