The Supreme Court on February 5 has ruled that the Kolkata Police Commissioner should be available for CBI for questioning. Reportedly, it has also issued contempt notice to West Bengal Chief Secretary, the DGP and Rajiv Kumar seeking their responses by February 20. This is evidently a setback for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who had obstructed the CBI questioning by supporting the act of forceful detention of CBI officers. These officers had come for questioning Mr Rajiv Kumar and not for arresting him.
But, citing today’s Supreme Court rule partially and rather conveniently, which states that CBI can’t arrest Kolkata Police chief, Mamata Banerjee has been claiming “moral victory” and a “victory of opposition”.
Facts That Bust the “Moral Victory” Narrative
- In the first place, Kolkata Police chief had refused to submit himself to the interrogation by the CBI. The Supreme Court has ruled that he should cooperate with the CBI investigation making it clear that there is no room for WB administration to claim any victory.
- There is no evidence to suggest that the CBI team went to Kolkata Police chief’s residence for arresting him. Majority of media reports, such as this, clearly state that the CBI team had arrived at the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to question him in connection with the Saradha chit fund case. As the below snapshot shows, all evidences indicate that the CBI team went there not to arrest but for recording the police chief’s statement.
- Even the argument in SC today on behalf of the West Bengal administration revolved around shielding the officer from the CBI investigation itself, which SC has declined. The below tweet by Times of India journalist who reported today’s proceedings makes it clear that the police chief’s contention was about appearing before the CBI itself.
Did CBI Visit Take Place All of a Sudden?
A report has been published in Hindustan Times on February 5 that the CBI communicated to the West Bengal police more than 20 times for questioning some police officers with regard to the scam but to no avail. The report also details how from October 2017, multiple notices were sent to the WB police chief asking for his personal presence and also the need for some other officers’ presence with regard to the Saradha scam. The report notes that in all the instances, the WB police have avoided making themselves available citing various reasons.
As all the above evidences make it amply clear, the contention was never about “arresting”, but the questioning of WB police officers including the Kolkata police chief. Today’s SC ruling has cleared the hurdle for CBI investigation.
So, what “moral victory” West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is claiming here?