West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is sitting on a dharna or a sit-down protest in central Kolkata to "save the constitution" after a huge showdown between the police and officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Sunday evening. The CBI officers wanted to question Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar over two Ponzi schemes, but the CBI officials who turned up at Mr Kumar's home were taken to a local police station and allegedly detained. "There is total constitutional breakdown. It is my job to protect my officers," the Chief Minister told reporters in the evening. "They (the BJP) cannot fight is politically. That's why they are resorting to all this... Mr (Ajit) Doval is doing whatever PM wants him to do, he is the one giving all the instructions to CBI," she said.
Trinamool leader Derek O'Brien alleged that the BJP was planning a "constitutional coup." Opposition leaders have also spoken out in support of Ms Banerjee, with RJD chief Tejashwi Yadav saying the state government had to take the move due to "political decisions" the CBI had been taking at the BJP's behest. Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha also slammed the centre for the showdown in Kolkata. Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also criticized the CBI's ation.
The CBI officers, who were released later, are planning to meet the Governor. Ms Banerjee is sitting on dharna at the designated spot for protests in Central Kolkata, accompanied by Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar.
Here are the highlights on the Kolkata Police-CBI clash and Mamata Banerjee's dharna:
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday dismissed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's protest against the centre as a drama orchestrated by the BJP and her party."
#SaveDemocracy@MamataOfficial- Raj Thackeray (@RajThackeray) February 3, 2019
...We applaud and support the stand taken by Mamta Banerjee against the autocracy and tyranny of the Central government. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena firmly stands behind her and the fight against this tyranny. #RajThackeraypic.twitter.com/c8DbyiDNkl
I spoke with Mamata Di tonight and told her we stand shoulder to shoulder with her.- Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 3, 2019
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.
In solidarity with @MamataOfficial- Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 3, 2019
History stands testament to how JK has faced the wrath of central agencies. Its disheartening to see how institutions are being hijacked only to discredit political opponents . Doesn't bode well for the Centre - State relationship .
We strongly condemn the incidents happening in Kolkata, a glaring example of how Modi-Shah duo are destroying the institutions. Attacking political opponents in different States, few days before the Parliament elections commence, will have disastrous consequences in the country.- N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) February 3, 2019
The highest levels of the BJP leadership are doing the worst kind of political vendetta. Not only are political parties their targets, they are misusing power- Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 3, 2019
to take control of the police and destroy all institutions. We condemn this 1/2
Rajeev Kumar was asked to help with the investigation when several key documents of the cases allegedly went missing. CBI sources said he had received several summons for questioning over the last two years.