Rajat Sharma

‘Save Democracy’ call cannot be a one-way route, Mamata must walk the talk in Bengal

a (007)The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available for questioning by CBI in faraway Shillong instead of Kolkata, and “faithfully” cooperate in the central agency’s probe into the Saradha chit fund scam. The apex court also directed the CBI that no “coercive steps” including the arrest of the Commissioner must be taken in course of the investigation. The Supreme Court has also sought replies from Rajeev Kumar on CBI’s allegations that he was tampering with electronic evidence and providing the agency with doctored materials.

The CBI officers had gone to the official residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner on Sunday evening to question him on the scam because it was he who headed the Special Investigation Team set up by Mamata Banerjee’s government. Rajeev Kumar was given notices four times by the CBI to be available for questioning, but the Commissioner not only evaded these notices, but refused to reply to them.

Naturally, questions arise as to why the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the unprecedented step of going to her Police Commissioner’s residence, prevented him from being questioned by CBI and pitched up a tent in Kolkata to stage an impromptu dharna. The main question that is being asked is what is she trying to hide?

Let me make it clear here. The Saradha chit fund scam probe began during the UPA rule. Lakhs of people lost their hard-earned savings in this scam. It is the Supreme Court which is supervising the CBI probe into the scam. The CBI team had not gone to arrest any Trinamool Congress leader on Sunday evening. The team only wanted to question the Police Commissioner, who had headed the SIT.

Mamata Banerjee sat on her dharna, with IPS and state police officers sitting with her, along with her party leaders. She called up almost all the Opposition leaders across India seeking their support. Some of the leaders reached the dharna site, but most of the other leaders preferred to offer verbal support only.

The West Bengal CM is raising the slogan of ‘Save Democracy’, but on ground, democracy is in peril in her own state because of her governmental machinery.

BJP is not being given permission to organize rallies for BJP President Amit Shah, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Shahnawaz Husain. Choppers of Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath are not being given permission to land in West Bengal. There were murderous attacks, ransacking of BJP offices and bomb blasts during the panchayat elections last year. Candidates of opposition parties were physically prevented from taking part in elections. BJP candidates who won the panchayat elections are hiding in neighbouring Jharkhand state out of fear of being attacked by TMC cadres.

In such circumstances, if Mamata Banerjee is giving a call to ‘Save Democracy’, she should know that it cannot be a one way route. And I also let me remind her one thing from the past: She came to power after fighting tooth and nail for democratic rights and freedom in West Bengal. She faced curbs and tyranny of the Left Front government. She has a right to protest but she should allow others also their democratic rights to communicate with the public.

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