Mamata continues sit-in, SC hearing on CBI plea awaited

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued her sit-in on an arterial city road on Tuesday even as all the stakeholders awaited the Supreme Court verdict over the CBI’s plea against Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar.

The CBI approached the apex court on Monday, saying it “apprehends” Kumar is “destroying electronic evidence” and he should be directed to “immediately surrender/make himself available” for investigation.

More than 37 hours after she commenced her street protest, Banerjee — accompanied by Trinamool Congress leaders and Bengali entertainment industry figures — was time and again seen giving instructions to her party activists from the makeshift dias in central Kolkata’s Dharamtala area since morning.

State Food Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick, Sports Minister Aroop Biswas, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Laxmi Ratan Shukla were present on the dais.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, who joined Banerjee in her sit-in, were expected to attend the demonstration on Tuesday, too.

Meanwhile, the West Bengal government on Monday sought immediate hearing on the CBI attempt to question Kumar but the Calcutta High Court declined to take it up urgently following objection by the Centre’s counsel and listed the matter for Tuesday.

Senior BJP leaders flayed Banerjee’s government accusing her of trying to stop the Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the ponzi scams undemocratically.

“Banerjee has created an democratic environment in Bengal by creating disruptions in CBI proceedings. It is the first time that Chief Minister of a state has started a dharna to protect a Police Commissioner,” Senior BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh alleged.

In an unprecedented confrontation with the Modi government, Banerjee began a sit-in late on Sunday in Kolkata accusing the Centre of trying to run a parallel administration in states, saying there is a “constitutional break-down” after an ugly face-off between the CBI and the state police.

The showdown started after the federal probe agency’s officers showed up near the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who has been under the scanner in connection with the CBI probe into the ponzi scheme scam case.