Mamata Banerjee's protest entered Day 3 today in the heart of Kolkata (File)
Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called off the sit-in protest against the centre amid a full blown political stand-off that saw a host of opposition leaders extending support to the Trinamool Congress chief. The Central Bureau of Investigation, whose move to barge into the house of the Kolkata police chief and question him triggered the mega row, went to the Supreme Court, which heard the evidence against Rajeev Kumar today. The CBI has accused Rajeev Kumar of being a "potential accused" in the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi schemes -- cases he investigated -- and said it was possible that he might have tried to destroy evidence. Rajeev Kumar cannot be arrested, the top court has given the verdict and his questioning will be done in Shillong.
Here are the highlights of Day 3 of Mamata Banerjee's dharna:
All 42 seats should go to madam (Mamata Banerjee): N Chandrababu Naidu
Democracy in danger: N Chandrababu Naidu
Mamata Banerjee calls off sit in protest.
No one can investigate Amit Shah's son, as he is his son: Tejashwi Yadav
We are here to protect the constitution: Tejashwi Yadav
PM Modi didn't fulfil any promises: Tejashwi Yadav
Tejashwi Yadav is speaking at Mamata Banerjee's sit-in protest.
Himanta Biswa Sarma to NDTV: It is very painful that Mamata Banerjee whom I respect so much is accusing me without any kind of fact and circumstances, CBI had called me as a witness. I joined the investigation much before I joined the BJP in fact after I was called to stay in Congress for more three months and even CBI in the court has given statement that I am just a witness , so Mamata didi's effort to join dot with me, my party to Saradha scam is very painful.
In Berhampur, Shahnawaz Hussain who drove up was not allowed to hold a rally. He is currently addressing a Press Conference.
BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the TMC-led government in West Bengal has denied the party permission for a rally in Murshidabad and alleged that there is complete lawlessness in the state.
Mr Hussain said he will still go to Murshidabad and is already on the way.
Last week, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was denied permission to hold a rally in the state, which is witnessing a political slugfest between the ruling TMC and the BJP.
Yogi Adityanath is also headed to Bengal to hold a rally in Purulia. Mamata Banerjee has said "arrangements can be made last minute" if requests are made 3 years prior.
Odisha's Naveen Patnaik when asked if there has been any communication with Mamata Banerjee over CBI matter:
No one from TMC has been in contact with us for at least a year. Our party statement yesterday had to do with events in our state. We would like CBI to do a professional and non political job.
Mamata Banerjee on BJP rallies in Bengal:
While Amit Shah was recovering from swine flu, he came to Bengal. That was not right. We wanted him to get better. And then they say we denied him permission. I have not forgotten. I was denied guest house in Maharashtra, Bihar. You put your own house in order first, then take action against us.
The Nobel prize of Rabindranath Tagore was stolen. I want to ask CBI, will you first solve that? It's been 7-8 years. Why can't you give us the papers for Nobel Prize?
We have not denied permission for rally, they only ask for permission 3 hrs before the rally, arrangements can't be made last minute
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had put democracy in peril in West Bengal and sought to know if Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar was an office bearer of her party TMC.
"I feel that in West Bengal democracy is in peril. Someone occupying a constitutional post is violating the federal structure of the country. This certainly does not augur well for the democracy of the country," Mr Maurya told PTI in an interview.
BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya Tuesday thanked the Supreme Court for directing Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI, saying it was a "victory of democracy" and demanded the resignation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The top court Tuesday directed Mr Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe.
"The SC verdict is a victory of democracy. Mamata Banerjee should immediately tender resignation," Mr Vijayvargiya told PTI.
Derek O'Brien said Mamata has stood for rights before and this is another victory.
The Trinamool Congress has listed 4 reasons why this is a big win for Mamata Banerjee:
1. Hon'ble Supreme Court directs the CBI and Kolkata Police Commissioner to meet at a neutral venue. The neutral venue directed by CJI is Shillong.
2. No coercive steps to be taken by CBI against Kolkata Police Commissioner. He cannot be arrested.
3. Centre has made allegations of armed rebellion and breakdown of constitutional machinery. Court has not paid heed to this.
4. With regard to contempt petition the 3 parties CS DGP and police chief should submit their replies by 18th. Matter to be listed on 20th. Personal appearance if required will be communicated by secretary general of the top court after the court peruses the reply.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Supreme Court has made it clear Rajeev Kumar will have to appear in court, not in Kolkata, but in Shillong. "Some people are calling it a victory. What can we say. Question is why was Rajiv Kumar not coming forward in 3 years?"
"Thousands of crores of poor people lost in Saradha, Narada and Rose Valley scams. Shouldn't there be a probe? Opposition parties standing with Mamata Banerjee haven't said anything in this regard. Contempt notice has been sent to top officials of Bengal government. Lets not politicise the issue, today is the moral victory of the CBI," he said.
Pointers from Mamata Banerjee's press conference at her protest spot in Kolkata:
- Only the people and nobody is the big boss of this country. Only democracy is the big boss of this country.
- Just calling them and arresting them. People cannot go to court. CBI has its own court. How will people get justice. I am fighting for millions of people not just Rajeev Kumar.
- On asked if she will continue her dharna, "I will not decide in a hurry. Let me consult my people. So many opposition leaders are coming. Today Naidu is coming. We are not fighting alone. Let me consult and tell."
- On top court verdict, "It's not my victory alone. It's victory of constitution. It's the victory of Save India."
- Our movement is the movement of people. I have digested the injustice for too long. My heart was crying at the injustice.
- In the top court, Centre's allegations have been rejected. Mutual place has to be agreed on. Rajeev Kumar's arrest has been denied.
- Today is victory of democracy, victory of Save India, victory of people.
- On allegation about Yogi Adityanath chopper not being allowed to land, "It's absolutely wrong."
- Modi hatao, Desh bachao--- We will fight the battle with all the political parties. All the people are invited to be the prime minister.
- PM Modi has destroyed democracy.
- Tell Yogi Adityanath to take care of UP first. So many people have been killed, even cops are not safe.
- Will discuss with everyone about the dharna then see if will continue or not.
- I am ready to lay down my life for my country but I won't tolerate the injustice.
- So many people are involved in the chit fund case. Babul Supriyo said he was the rose in Rose Valley. What happened to that?
- I have written a bestseller, I am an artist, that is why I paint. This has nothing to do with me selling my paintings to chit fund companies.
- My dharna was not to cause inconvenience. Has Jayalalithaa not protested? There are so many leaders who have protested.
- I have struggled all through my life. I have campaigned for human rights. Campaigned for lock up day when Narasimha Rao was PM over rights violation, the protest went on for over 20 days. Mr Rao heeded our concerns. I protested when farmers' lands were being taken away forcefully. I was on protest for 26 days.
- Mamata Banerjee says CBI-Kolkata police commissioner tussle was nothing but political vendetta.
Hearing in Supreme Court on West Bengal CBI matter: Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for West Bengal government said, "It's an attempt to humiliate and score point. What's the great urgency? For 5 years there was no FIR. There is not a single FIR against Rajeev Kumar under 201 (Destruction of evidence) of the IPC.
Attorney General KK Venugopal pleads before the Supreme Court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the alleged contemnors.
Supreme Court issues notice to Chief Secretary, DGP and Rajeev Kumar on CBI Contempt plea. The court will decide after the reply whether to summon them or not.Mr Kumar's questioning to be done in Shillong. The next hearing is on February 20.
BREAKING: Supreme Court directs Rajeev Kumar to appear and make available to CBI and cooperate. The police chief cannot be arrested, Supreme Court says. The top court also asked the Chief Secretary DGP and Rajeev Kumar to file reply.
Attorney General K K Venugopal opens argument on behalf of CBI, alleges destruction of evidence in Saradha chitfund scam case.
CBI affidavit says investigation was being done by SIT and crucial evidence such as laptops, mobile phones etc were handed over to the main accused in Saradha scam case by the investigating officer of Bengal police working under direct supervision of Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
Affidavit also states,return of crucial evidence to main accused by the SIT, despite regular monitoring by High Court, clearly show connivance of SIT to a larger conspiracy wherein local authorities obstructed probe and attempted to destroy evidence prior to transfer of the case to CBI by top court.
Calcutta High Court adjourns hearing in Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar case till Thursday as the Supreme Court is seized of the matter., reports news agency PTI.
CBI files affidavit in the Supreme Court alleging there are several incriminating material/correspondence that was collected during the investigation by the CBI against the senior police officials as well as senior politicians.
Final Addl. Affidavit Review by on Scribd
Supreme Court proceedings have begun in the CBI case:
CBI claims it is investigating "inaction, selective action, police and chit fund nexus"
SIT used to shield the selective companies such as Saradha, Rose Valley and Tower Group which have given huge contributions (even by way of cheques) to the party in power in the State of West Bengal.
CBI claims SIT shielded companies which gave campaign contributions to TMC.
Siddaramaiah, Congress on CBI issue in West Bengal: With bad intention and by keeping election in mind, they are (Centre) misusing the power and conducted raid at Commissioner's house. Mamata Banerjee opposed it by saying this is part of political vendetta. I support it, Mamata Banerjee did the right thing. She'll face court later but nobody should misuse ED, IT or any agency. Narendra Modi is creating anarchy. Can anybody raid your house? They have rights to work as per law. They didn't have any order or warrant.
The Trinamool Congress's Twitter handle shared a picture of the alleged scams of the BJP government:
Arun Jaitley shared a blog on Facebook on Mamata Banerjee's ongoing dharna. Titled "The Kleptocrat's Club", Arun Jaitley attacked the Trinamool supremo over the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams. Here is the full text of the blog
Mamata Banerjee's disproportionate over-reaction to the CBI wanting to interrogate the Kolkata Police Chief has flagged several issues for a public discourse. The most important being that a Kleptocrat's Club now aspires to capture the reigns of India.The Chit Fund Fraud and its Investigation
The West Bengal Chit Fund Fraud was unearthed in 2012-13. Its investigations were handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court. The Court monitored these investigations. The CBI has interrogated and even arrested some people. Many have been granted bail. If a Police Officer is also required to be interrogated, how does it become a "super emergency", "assault on Federalism", or "destruction of Institutions"? What is the strategy behind Chief Minister's disgraceful and disproportionate reaction? What is her strategy in inviting all other leaders belonging to every opposition to join her on the Dharna? It would be a gross error to assume that she did this because of a routine investigation involving a Police Officer. She did it to defocus from other opposition aspirants for the highest office and to project herself as the nucleus of India's opposition. Her speeches attack Prime Minister Modi but her strategy is aimed to defocus some of her other colleagues in the Opposition and hogging the centre stage.Can a State assault Federalism?
Federalism is not a slogan. It is a delicate balance of the Centre-State relationship. Our Constitutional framework clearly defines the sharing of functions between the Centre and the State. It does not permit an overlap. There are Central agencies and organizations which conduct legitimate investigation in States. Today the CBI is being brutally prevented by physical force and detention of its officer from investigating a crime legally within its jurisdiction, in the State of West Bengal. It is a textbook illustration of a State Government assaulting Federalism. Can a State Government prevent the Income-tax Department from collecting taxes in a State? Can another State Government prevent the NIA from proceeding to arrest a Terrorist located in the State? Can the Enforcement Directorate be prevented from investigating or arresting a smuggler or money-launderer physically located in a State? Obviously the answer is No. If any of these is visible, it would be a case of a State assaulting Federalism. The prevention of a Central investigating agency discharging a function given to it by the Supreme Court is a direct assault on Federalism.The new Kleptocrat's Club
Technology has been a great enabler in detection of improper monetary transactions. Traceability of transactions has become simpler and the footprints of illegality can be traced. This has empowered all investigative agencies both at the Centre and at the State Governments to unearth financial crimes including corruption.
When Mamata Banerjee decided to sit on a Dharna she received support of many opposition parties. There is an important commonality between them. They are all in Opposition and aspire to be in power. Most of them, or their affiliates are today being investigated, prosecuted and in some cases have also been convicted for crimes of corruption. Her ally from Bihar represents the party of the convicted. The friend from Andhra Pradesh runs a party of contractors, thekhedaars and money-launderers. Her two friends from Uttar Pradesh represent the scandalous legacy of corruption. Her Anarchic brother from the Delhi Government is at his wits end because the penny stock companies of his Ministerial colleagues have been found out. Curiously, the AICC President somersaulted his position from Saradha being a scam to "shoulder-to-shoulder" support to the scamster. This somersaulter belongs to the first family of the Congress Party where most members of the family are on bail. It has been argued in the past that the Opposition is going in for a non-ideological short-lived coalition. India cannot afford instability. It has also been argued that the choice in the next Election will be either Modi Vs. Chaos or Modi Vs. Anarchy. Mamata Banerjee's latest acrobatics are the best evidence of the kind of governance India's opposition can provide. But more importantly those who have lent support to the West Bengal Dharna are those who are battling serious allegations of economic improprieties, criminal misconduct and even corruption. Can "New India" be ever run by this Kleptocrat's Club?
Chandrababu Naidu to visit Mamata Banerjee today at her protest venue. He will be arriving at 3pm in Kolkata.
Actress and TMC's Indrani Halder meets Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at 'Save the Constitution' dharna in Kolkata.
Mamata Banerjee back on stage on Day 3 of her sit-in protest.
Kanimozhi of Tamil Nadu's opposition DMK also visited Mamata Banerjee yesterday.
"I would say that this episode was Modi-ji's pre-election gift to Mamata Banerjee... the whole country is now looking at her... the BJP has realised after January 19 rally that they won't return to power," said Ms Kanimozhi.
"Using institutional power to drive us apart... they are mistaken if they think that is what will happen. We have learnt to celebrate our differences. India will not accept this," she added.
DMK chief Stalin, who is Kanimozhi's brother, has tweeted support for Ms Banerjee, who has taken the initiative to forge a united opposition to take on the BJP in the coming national elections.
Tejashwi Yadav, the son of Bihar leader Lalu Yadav, visited Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday evening at the dharna site where she has been camping out since Sunday evening.
In the backdrop of the hiccups faced by the opposition in forging a united front against the BJP, Tejashwi Yadav said if all political parties don't unite, the people of this country "will not forgive" them.
"It is a political conspiracy to use the CBI against political opponents. Narendra Modi is elder to us, and he should understand that the PM comes and goes, but the institutions of this great country remain," Tejashwi Yadav said.
Lalu Yadav has also tweeted his support for Mamata Banerjee.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, denied permission to hold rallies in west Bengal on Sunday, will be making a visit to the state again this afternoon, to address a rally in the Purulia district.
The West Bengal's government had on Sunday denied chopper landing to Yogi Adityanath in the state.
Arun Jaitley tweeted on Mamata Banerjee's dharna:
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Mamata Banerjee's dharna over CBI issue:
"We're all together to save this country&protect democracy. There is an attack on democratic institutions. A month before elections,they went to Commissioner of Police and harassed him. It's totally undemocratic."
Latest visuals from the site of Mamata Banerjee's 'Save the Constitution' dharna near Metro Channel. The stage is currently covered with curtains.
Months before the national election, this has become another flashpoint in the BJP versus opposition bust-up with several leaders, from Rahul Gandhi to Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal and Tejashwi Yadav, pledging their support to Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee accuses the BJP of targetting her administration with greater verve after her mega rally of 23 opposition parties in Kolkata last month. She has also accused PM Modi of using unparliamentary language in his recent rallies. The Prime Minister had said the Bengal government was killing the aspirations of the middle class through "Triple T - Trinamool Tolabazi Tax". Tolabazi roughly translates to an act of organised extortion.
On Monday, the BJP approached the Election Commission, alleging that the Trinamool Congress government was not allowing its political programmes in the state. "The party which is ruling in the state and its supporters are out in the open to ensure that no other political party gets permission to carry out its legitimate activities ahead of the polls," said Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was part of the delegation.
The showdown with the Centre follows an intense turf war between the BJP and Mamata Banerjee as the country heads for the national elections. Over the last weeks, the chief minister has blocked attempts by the BJP to take out rath yatras in Bengal and even denied permission to its top leaders to land their choppers at rally sites.
On Sunday evening, CBI officers were blocked from entering the Park Street home of Rajeev Kumar and detained at a police station for a few hours. "The Kolkata Police Commissioner is among the best in the world. His integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned," Mamata Banerjee had tweeted.
Answering critics who asked why she was upset over the questioning of a police officer, Mamata Banerjee said, "I did not take to the streets when you touched TMC leaders. But I am angry when they tried to insult the chair of the Kolkata Police Commissioner, he is leading the organisation".
Various leaders of the BJP questioned why Mamata Banerjee is going out on a limb for a police officer. "Circumstances indicate that this cop knows a lot and therefore has to be saved," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Several leaders of Ms Banerjee's party are allegedly involved in the two cases, which were investigated by Rajeev Kumar.
The matter raised ripples in parliament too, where amid heavy slogan shouting by the opposition, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the detention of CBI officers was "unprecedented" and indicated a constitutional breakdown in the state.
Mamata Banerjee held a cabinet meeting and a Facebook live conference yesterday from her protest venue. In the evening, she held an impromptu award ceremony for the officers of the Kolkata Police. Bihar leader Tejashwi Yadav and DMK's Kanimozhi were at the spot.