When elephants fight, goes an African proverb, it is the grass that suffers. When politicians fight, everything that makes a democracy meaningful—constitutional proprieties, conventions, decency, decorum, et al—gets trampled over. This is exactly what is happening in West Bengal.
Kolkata city police chief Rajeev Kumar, under whose supervision a Special Investigation Team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams of 2013, was asked to help the probe. It has been alleged that several documents went missing. He was summoned for questioning; and there were media reports that he could be arrested for avoiding questioning. This has been challenged by the Kolkata Police which said that they would sue those who came up the allegedly defamatory reports.
Derek O’Brien, senior leader of the Trinamool Congress which rules the state, said that on Sunday evening as many as 40 officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation came to the Park Street House of Rajeev Kumar. The police guards posted there not only didn’t let them in but took the team to the local police station.
What on earth is happening? West Bengal police manhandling CBI officers? A few months ago, the nation witnessed the unedifying spectacle of CBI men dragging Intelligence Bureau agents outside the residence of former CBI chief Alok Verma. A few years ago, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance was in office, our law enforcement agencies were made to fight each other over the Ishrat Jahan case.
Things are going from bad to worse; a new low is touched every day. The recent one is an incumbent chief minister slamming the National Security Advisor. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “How dare you come to a police commissioner’s home without a warrant? Mr. [Ajit] Doval is doing whatever PM wants him to do, he is the one giving all the instructions to CBI.”
She has already waged a war against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s government at the Centre: “This is a Satyagraha and I’ll continue till the country is saved.” She went on to thunder, “If they want to impose President’s Rule, we are ready for it.”
At least, some BJP leaders do want President’s Rule. MP from the state and Union Minister Babul Supriyo is one of them. He tweeted: “President’s Rule should be imposed on West Bengal to control this ‘Rogue’#TMchhi Govt under a corrupt CM MamtaBanerjee. This is a constitutional crisis ‘created’ by Mamta to shield her corrupt & tainted accomplices.”
Unsurprisingly, Banerjee has been able to elicit wide support from Opposition leaders—Arvind Kejriwal, Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu Yadav, H.D. Deve Gowda, Omar Abdullah. And of course Congress president Rahul Gandhi is behind her. He tweeted, “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.”