An all-out war broke out between the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government on Sunday, with the feisty West Bengal leader beginning a sit-in protest at a city landmark over the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams, insisting it stifled the spirit of "Constitution and federalism". Taking the cognizance of the matter, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General will make an urgent mention before the CJI tomorrow morning for urgent consideration of the matter.
According to the reports, the Centre will accuse the Mamata government of impeding investigation of a Supreme Court ordered probe (in 2014 SC asked CBI to probe Saradha, other Ponzi scams). The CBI Interim Director M Nageshwar Rao has also said that tomorrow the CBI will approach the Supreme Court on the matter as the West Bengal police is not cooperating.
In a turn of events, the Kolkata Police has today detained the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team which had reached the house of Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to question him in connection with Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams. The team was earlier denied entry by the cops into the house of Kolkata Police chief. The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has also reached Kumar's house. According to our sources, the CBI team is in Shakespeare police station under whose aegis commissioner's house comes. The CBI is trying to locate Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar to question him in connection with Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams and it might arrest him as the last resort, officials said. The IPS officer, who led a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the scams, has to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he is not responding to notices to appear before the agency, they said.
West Bengal: Police detains the CBI team which had reached the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. The team has now been taken to a police station. pic.twitter.com/YXJJ3d11LL— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
Trinamool Congress senior leader Derek O Brien took to Twitter and termed the raid as constitution coup. “BJP planning a constitutional coup? 40 CBI officials surround Kolkata Police Commissioner’s home. Destruction of institutions goes on unabated. Our demand in #Parliament on Mon. Modi has to go. We are reaching out and sharing this with all Oppn parties who want to #SaveDemocracy," he wrote.
BJP planning a constitutional coup ? 40 CBI officials surround Kolkata Police Commissioner’s home. Destruction of institutions goes on unabated. Our demand in #Parliament on Mon. Modi has to go. We are reaching out and sharing this with all Oppn parties who want to #SaveDemocracy— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) February 3, 2019
Kumar, a 1989 batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, did not even attend a meeting with Election Commission officials who had gone to Kolkata to meet him regarding election preparedness, sources said. When contacted, his staff claimed Kumar had come to office Friday but had left. "There is very little chance that he will come to office now. You can try on Monday or call his residence," his office staff told PTI over phone. The number of his residence given by his staff did not ring and the calls made to his mobile number remained unanswered. The officials said Kumar apparently became apprehensive of his arrest after Bengali film producer Shrikant Mohita was taken into custody.
According to some eyewitness accounts, Kumar was spotted in a book fair some days back. The Rose Valley scam is worth over Rs 15,000 crore and Saradha scam is about Rs 2500 crore. In both cases, the perpetrators allegedly have links with the members of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, they said.
In both cases, like all other ponzi scam cases under the CBI probe, the investors were lured with attractive interest rates, they said. They were allegedly duped by ponzi scam companies which refused to return money after maturity of deposits and finally closed their shops. The Supreme Court had handed over probe to the CBI in 2014. Kumar was appointed as the Kolkata Police commissioner in 2016.
Earlier, the Kolkata police issued a notice where they said, "We have noticed a news item doing the rounds of various audiovisual, print, and digital media since Saturday, 02.02.19, to the effect that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is 'looking for' Shri Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, in connection with the Saradha chit fund cases. The news item also mentions that Shri Rajeev Kumar has not been attending office for three days. Kolkata Police condemns and denies such baseless news. Please take note that not only is the CP Kolkata available in the city, but has also been attending office on a regular basis, with the exception of 31.1.19, when he was on leave for a day. All concerned may please take note that if any news is spread without proper verification, Kolkata Police will initiate strict legal action against defamation of both the CP Kolkata and Kolkata Police."
I'm shocked learning about CBI rushing to arrest the police commissioner & subsequent developments in West Bengal. India had faced similar kind of unconstitutional methods during emergency, the situation is similar to that of emergency: HD Deve Gowda
In solidarity with @MamataOfficial— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 3, 2019
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 .
Hooghly: TMC workers stage a 'rail roko protest' in Rishra over the ongoing CBI issue pic.twitter.com/uQwdwfudha— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
I have appealed to all TMC workers to be calm, there will be no violence. The protest will continue: Firhad Hakim, Mayor of Kolkata
I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 3, 2019
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.
CBI Interim Director M Nageshwar Rao: Tomorrow the CBI will approach the Supreme Court on the matter as the West Bengal police is not cooperating.
Centre will seek appropriate directions against the West Bengal government and its police.
Centre to accuse Mamta government of impeding the investigation of a Supreme Court ordered probe (in 2014 SC asked CBI to probe Saradha, other Ponzi scams)
Tomorrow Attorney General or the Solicitor General will make an urgent mention before the CJI tomorrow morning for urgent consideration of the matter
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is right now speaking with all opposition leaders.
A Bhattacharya, Secy Home Affairs, W Bengal writes to state EC: He has clarified that he (Kolkata Police Commissioner) was absent from meeting on 31 Jan as he had applied for casual leave for personal reasons, he intended no offence or disrespect to Election Commission of India. pic.twitter.com/Sej4MbgxwY— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
Congress holds a meeting in Patna to discuss Kolkata’s episode
Congress president Rahul Gandhi and BSP chief call West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to show solidarity.
देश का आम आवाम भाजपा और उसकी गठबंधन सहयोगी पक्षपाती CBI के ख़िलाफ़ है। हम @MamataOfficial जी के साथ खड़े है। तानाशाही का नंगा नाच हो रहा है। लोकतंत्र पर सबसे बड़ा ख़तरा। संविधान और संवैधानिक संस्थाओं पर अभूतपूर्व संकट। चुनावी जीत के लिए देश को गृह युद्ध में झोंकने की कोशिश.. https://t.co/S5tfqvKEoA— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) February 3, 2019
The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government.— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) February 3, 2019
I stand with @MamataOfficial Didi in her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy.#SaveDemocracy
West Bengal: TMC workers stage a protest in Asansol over the ongoing CBI issue. pic.twitter.com/qHjVuzZcyW— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeks time from West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to discuss the ongoing issue.
Mamata Banerjee urges supporters to vacate ‘dharna’ spot
We have received solidarity from various political parties: Mamata Banerjee
Modi has gone mad, says agitated Mamata Banerjee.
We have confidence in democracy, media, judiciary: Mamata Banerjee
Spoke to respected @MamataOfficial ji. Extended RJD’s support, BJP has not only venomous & nefarious agenda against opposition leaders but Indian Administrative Service & Police Officers. Might visit Kolkata tomorrow— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) February 3, 2019
TMC blocks Asansol-Risra road
CBI may move to Supreme Court today: Source
Incident taking place in Kolkata are unfortunate. Mamata Banerjee wants to protect the corrupt in her state, like a dictator. She is obstructing investigation of CBI which was there as per SC order. She is shredding apart the constitution. We condemn this, says GVL Narasimha Rao, BJP.
As if #CBI questioning CP Rajiv Kumar in chitfund fraud isn’t embarrassing enough, whole thing descends into farce as @MamataOfficial alongwith her lackeys in State Administration manhandles & detains the CBI Officers. State-Centre allowing this to become mockery of law & order. https://t.co/Ra7AefhE0U— Md Salim (@salimdotcomrade) February 3, 2019
A delegation of senior BJP leaders to meet Chief Election Commissioner on Monday. BJP will complain about West Bengal govt blocking rallies of senior BJP leaders.
Praveen Tripathi, Joint Commissioner Crime, Kolkata Police: A team of CBI officers came without any papers for what they called a 'secret operation'. When asked what the operation was about, they could not give a satisfactory response.
Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu expresses his support to Mamata Banerjee via a phone call. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal may head to Kolkata tomorrow.
At least 15 parties party confirm to raise CBI bogey with TMC on the floor of the house
Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo’s action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 3, 2019
CBI may file complain against West Bengal police in Delhi: Sources
Interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao to ANI: They have taken charge of all the evidence, seized all the documents. They have not been cooperating with us in handing over all the documents and a lot of evidence has been destroyed or caused to disappear.
Interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao to ANI: We are investigating these chit fund cases as per the directions of the SC. An SIT has been constituted by the WB govt prior to SC's direction under the chairmanship of Rajeev Kumar, who is currently the Kolkata police commissioner.
There is evidence against him (Rajeev Kumar), he has been instrumental in causing the destruction of this evidence and obstructing justice, says Interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao to ANI
Mamata Banerjee sought Congress's support. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel briefs Rahul Gandhi about the whole Bengal episode.
All five CBI officers who were detained by police at Shakespeare Sarani police station in Kolkata have been released.
Amid chants of Modi Hatao Desh Bachao, Mamata Banerjee starts her Dharna. TMC to stage protest in Bengal against BJP tomorrow.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sitting on her 'Save the Constitution' dharna at Metro Channel, Kolkata. Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar is also present. pic.twitter.com/nB6ASQIYFp— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
We are in support of Mamata Banerjee’s ‘Save Constitution’ dharna. BJP is misusing every constitutional institute which is dangerous for the democracy, says Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav
Mamata Banerjee launches dharna, says PM Modi, Amit Shah planning coup in Bengal
Interim CBI chief M Nageshwar Rao to ANI: We are contacting our senior law officers about the Kolkata incident. Whatever they suggest will be followed. pic.twitter.com/KRdD74oHje— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar leaves Shakespeare Police station
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee begins ‘dharna’ in front of Metro cinema
West Bengal CM reaches 'Dharna' spot
West Bengal Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar reaches Sheaksphere Police station.
Derek O'Brien, TMC: They landed with 40 CBI officials at police commissioner's residence in Kolkata. They don't even have a search warrant. The perpetrators are actually Modi, Shah and Ajit Doval, I heard it from my sources and I say this with full responsibility. pic.twitter.com/gTdvreF323— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
I appeal all like-minded parties to stand together against Modi government, says Derek O Brien
Amit Shah and Narendra Modi cannot fight TMC. They are resorting to political vendetta after what they saw in United India rally. BJP knows TMC slogan has arrived - '2019-BJP Finish'
BJP can't fight Mamata Banerjee in Bengal, says Derek O Brien
They (BJP) are destroying every constitutional institutes, says TMC leader Derek
The BJP duo (Amit Shah and Modi) know that they can fight the TMC, says Derek O Brien.
I am going to stage a dharna to save the federal structure. From today I'm going to sit near the Metro Channel. Tomorrow proceedings in state assembly will take place where I will hold a meeting. This dharna means satyagraha, says Mamata Banerjee
To save 'Democracy', Mamata Banerjee to sit on Dharna in front of metro cinema.
I am not afraid of Narendra Modi, says Mamata Banerjee
I am proud to say that my responsibility is to give protection to the force. Without notice, you are coming to Kolkata Police Commissioner's house. We could have arrested CBI but we left, says Mamata Banerjee.
They (Modi government) may not like me, but I won't allow them to harass my force, says Mamata Banerjee.
Modi Hatao Desh Bachao, says Mamata Banerjee
I still say Rajeev Kumar (Kolkata Police Commissioner) is the best in the world.
Why should I hand over all the documents to the Modi government, says Mamata Banerjee.
The situation under Modi government is worst than emergency, says Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee questions the timing of raids.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee: BJP is torturing Bengal. They are forcibly trying to destroy Bengal just because I did brigade rally. Yesterday you saw the language of PM where he threatened.
We are the one who took steps to bring Chit Fund offenders to book, says Mamata Banerjee
CBI is humiliating us because he conducted the United India rally on January 19, says Mamata Banerjee.
Modi and Shah are humiliating West Bengal, says Mamata Banerjee
Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP on 5 CBI officers detained by WB police: Democracy has ended in WB, CBI was investigating on orders of SC but they didn't allow them. CBI officers were detained, this is the first time something like this has happened since independence, we condemn this. pic.twitter.com/vUXPHfiXrS— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
CBI is investigating this case after the Supreme Court’s order, but Mamata Banerjee is insulting Narendra Modi, there is no democracy in Bengal: Kailash Vijayvargiya
Democracy is in danger in Kolkata, says Kailash Vijayvargiya
CBI fears the destruction of evidence: Sources
West Bengal: Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim arrives at the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also present there, a meeting is currently underway. pic.twitter.com/48JDc0TTS0— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2019
Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim reaches Kolkata Police Commissioner’s house.
Huge police deployment in front of Kolkata CBI office.
According to the sources, the CBI will speak to the Home Department regarding this entire episode.
After West Bengal Director General of Police, Additional Director General law reaches Rajeev Kumar’s house
Five CBI officers have been detained by the police.
TMC to raise the issue of CBI’s action in Kolkata tomorrow in Parliament
West Bengal Director General of Police arrives at the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is also present there, a meeting is currently underway.
Democracy at stake in West Bengal, says BJP leader Mukul Roy.
Mamata Banerjee present at the residence of Rajeev Kumar.
Tathagata Bardhan (CBI officer) has been taken to Shakespeare Sarani police station
Police detains the CBI team which had reached the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. The team has now been taken to a police station.
Police force of Bidhannagar police is present outside the CBI regional office at CGO Complex, Kolkata.
West Bengal Chief Minister to hold press conference shortly