Kolkata: Minutes after Kolkata police officers detained CBI officers outside police commissioner Rajeev Kumar's residence, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banejee rushed to Loudon Street and announced that she would sit on a dharna from Sunday evening against the "gabbar style" attitude of the central investigating agency and the Modi-led government.
Amid commotion, Banerjee arrived at Kumar’s house around 7 PM. Soon, top police officers, including all the divisional DCs, ADG, Law and Order, Anuj Sharma, DGP Virender rushed and conducted a high level meeting.
"Whatever happened today is worse than emergency. It was no less than a coup. CBI is harassing in gabbar style (a reference to iconic bandit in the movie, Sholay)," she said.
The Bengal CM alleged that NSA chief Ajit Doval was "giving instructions" to CBI and PM Modi to take action against TMC leaders and policemen.
"There are companies (chit fund) that are sponsored by PM Modi, Assam CM and BJP MP Babul Supriyo. Why they are roaming freely? Why haven't they been arrested. I will stick to my stand that Kolkata police commissioner is one of best officers in the world. Modi doesn't deserve to be a prime minister. Let them prove that Rajeev Kumar was involved in chit fund scam," Mamata said.
The Trinamool Congress chief further said that it was her duty to protect her officers. "CBI came to Rajeev Kumar's house without a search warrant. How audacious it was? They are playing with the Constitution. I will not tolerate this," she said, while adding that she will sit on a dharna from Sunday evening at Esplanade.
Soon, the entire area around Kumar's residence and the family quarters of IPS and IAS turned into a fortress. On the other side, a large team of policemen rushed to CBI office at Salt Lake and took their positions in front of CBI joint director's house in Kolkata.
In the meantime, BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy left for Delhi and there were reports that CBI has contacted the Union home ministry officials and West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi over the issue.
The showdown led to a war of words between the BJP leaders and opposition. While TMC MP Derek O'Brien questioned if it was a "constitutional coup", UP CM Yogi called upon saffron party workers to fight against TMC's "hooliganism" in a "democratic manner".
As politics continued to play out on the street, Banerjee received support from several leaders of the 'anti-Modi' bloc, including Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, MK Stalin, Sharad Pawar and HD Deve Gowda.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that the entire opposition will stand together and "defeat the fascist forces".
I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her. 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.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 3, 2019
CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, different on his stand and slammed both Banerjee and Modi.
This drama in Kolkata by BJP and TMC is not a fight for any principle but only to save their corrupt and hide their corruption. CPI(M) has fought both these undemocratic, corrupt, communal and dictatorial regimes in the Centre and the state and will continue to do so. (2/2) https://t.co/m2vvHMYtEp— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) February 3, 2019
Sources told CNN-News18 that the Centre and CBI would approach the Supreme Court on the matter on Monday, even as TMC has announced state-wide rallies on the first day of the week. Some workers also staged a 'rail roko' protest in Rishra on Sunday evening.
Organise rallies tomorrow between 2-4 PM in every block of the State. Wear black badges and carry black flags to register your protestWe are not afraid. If he wants to impose President’s Rule, we will see. We have to ensure Modi is ousted from power in 2019: @MamataOfficial— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) February 3, 2019
Wondering whether the Centre wants to impose President's Rule in the state, Banerjee said she would not attend the placing of the state Budget on Monday at the state assembly describing the evolving situation as an "emergency". However, sources told CNN-News18 that President's Rule would not be imposed.
Kumar, who appeared briefly outside his residence after the chief minister's press conference, said he would talk to the media on Monday.
A day earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that Kumar had been "absconding" and "being looked for" in connection with Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scam cases.
As the CBI team landed at the city police chief's residence, a team of Kolkata Police officers rushed to the spot to speak to the CBI officials and tried to enquire if they had the documents required for questioning Kumar.
Later on, a small team of CBI officials was taken to Shakespeare Sarani police station for further discussions. Thereafter, more men arrived at the spot and a commotion ensued. Some CBI officers were then forcibly bundled into police jeeps and taken to the police station.