Rajat Sharma


AKB30 The murderous attack on officers of Enforcement Directorate in West Bengal by a mob instigated by local Trinamool Congress leaders on Friday has shocked the nation. Several of them were beaten up by the mob and their official cars were vandalized. Only 27 jawans of Central Reserve Police Force were present and they were unable to stop the several hundred strong mob. The ED team had gone to the home of local Trinamool leader Shahjahan Shekh, whose name has figured in the multi-crore ration scam. Shahjahan Sheikh has a long criminal record, he locked his house from inside, when the attack took place. Other top leaders of Trinamool Congress whose names figure in the ration scam include Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s close associate and minister Jyotipriya Mallick and former Bongaon municipality chairman Shankar Adhya, who was arrested on Saturday by ED. Jyotipriya Mallick was arrested last year. After Friday’s attack, BJP leaders have demanded Mamata Banerjee’s resignation and imposition of President’s rule. West Bengal governor C V Ananda Bose summoned the Director General of Police and Home Secretary to know why local police did not provide protection to the ED team. Three ED officers, Rajkumar Ram, Somnath Dutta and Ankur Gupta were badly wounded in the mob attack. They saved their lives by taking an auto to flee, while the mob looted their mobile phones and laptops. Trinamool Congress leaders tried to blame the ED for this attack. They alleged that ED officers did not inform the local police in advance and reached Shahjahan Sheikh’s home for carrying out searches. But Basirhat SP Joby Thomas nailed the lie when he said that ED had informed police about the raid on e-mail at around 8.30 am on Friday. What happened in West Bengal was anticipated. With ED and CBI carrying out raids against ministers and bureaucrats in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is worried. Already, several crores of rupees in cash were seized during the raids against the key accused in teachers recruitment scam. Prior to that, Sharada chit fund scam and Rose Valley scam have exposed the shenanigans of Trinamool Congress leaders. Ministers and Trinamool leaders like Partha Chatterjee, Jyotipriya Mallick, Madan Mitra, Mukul Roy, Sudeep Bandopadhyay, Tapas Paul and others were named in these scams. Several ministers and leaders close to Mamata Banerjee are still in jail or had been jailed. ED and CBI probes are still going on, but the moot point is : Mamata Banerjee has not disowned any of her leaders or close bureaucrats who have been found involved in corruption. In February 2019, on the eve of Lok Sabha elections, Mamata Banerjee sat on a two-day dharna in Kolkata to prevent the arrest of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar by CBI. The same Rajiv Kumar is now the Director General of West Bengal Police. In a state where the chief minister herself tried to stop a CBI probe, one should not be surprised if her party leaders instigate a mob to attack ED officers. I believe, such attacks on officers of investigative agencies are neither good for our democratic system, nor is it good for Centre-State relations. It was Mamata Banerjee who had challenged the Left Front government in Bengal ten years ago and had uprooted the Left from power. If she levels allegation of misuse of ED by BJP, how can she justify misuse of West Bengal Police? Governments come and go, chief ministers come and go, but the administrative system remains in its place. The bureaucrats remain part of the system and they discharge their responsibilities. If officers of central agencies are attacked in states, what will be the fate of our system? Will there be attacks on central agency officers if they go to Ranchi to question Chief Minister Hemant Soren, or if they go to Patna to question deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav? These officers are only performing their duties, no matter which party or chief minister is in power in the state. If state police is unable to stop attacks on officers of central agencies, action must be taken against senior police officers.

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