Mamata provoking confrontation with Centre: BJP

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday accused the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of abusing its powers by using the Kolkata Police to threaten Custom officials who tried to check her relative’s luggage at the airport last week.

It was also trying to provoke a confrontation with the Centre, it said.

The BJP was referring to the controversy surrounding Rujira Naroola, wife of West Bengal Chief Minister’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, who was detained allegedly with undeclared 2 kg gold by Customs officials at Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport last week.

Naroola reportedly made a phone call and a team of Kolkata Police arrived and escorted her out of the airport. The police officials allegedly also warned Customs officials that they should “release (Naroola) immediately or face problems”.

BJP spokesperson Swapan Dasgupta questioned the state police’s integrity in the incident and said an important implication of the episode relates to the police’s role in the elections.

“Local police cannot enter the airport. But here the police came and threatened the Custom officials. Abhishek Banerjee should answer why a bonafide citizen and passenger should resist her bags being checked and why the next day the police came in once again to arrest three Custom officials,” Dasgupta said here.

“It is apparent the state police cannot be trusted as a neutral force during the elections,” he said and added the state police is working full-time for the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

“The Election Commission has to be seized of the matter and exemplary action should be taken against police officers who threatened Custom officials at the airport,” Dasgupta said.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said power was being abused in West Bengal and asked Mamata Banerjee to tell what was inside the suitcases.

Dasgupta questioned the rationale why the local police proposed a green channel norm at the airport under which designated VIPs may not be checked.

“On the basis of FIR, the police has demanded a new standard operating procedure wherein anybody designated a VIP should automatically be allowed to go through the green channel. All the laws of the country are violated in West Bengal. The police does not give the proposal automatically. They act under certain instructions. Abhishek Banerjee should answer,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

He said Mamata Banerjee-led regime was deliberately trying to provoke a confrontation with the Centre. “She did so in the Sharada scam and now again we are seeing that the boundaries of federalism are being consistently violated. Mamataji is deliberately trying to provoke a Constitutional crisis at every stage,” he said.