Uproar over CBI action in West Bengal derails LS

IANS

New Delhi:  The Lok Sabha on Monday witnessed uproar as opposition parties led by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) protested vehemently against the CBI raid in Kolkata, calling it a misuse of the agency against political opponents, forcing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to adjourn the House for the day.

Soon after the House re-assembled in the post-lunch session, the Trinamool Congress and other opposition leaders were on their feet. They trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started sloganeering against the CBI and the Central government.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar urged the agitating members to begin discussion on the thanks giving motion on the President’s address to the joint sitting of the Parliament.

But they did not relent. As the din continued, Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

Earlier, raising the issue during Zero Hour, TMC leader Saugata Roy dubbed the situation in West Bengal as a “constitutional crisis” and accused the Cente of constantly using the CBI to throttle the opposition voice and to intimidate them.

“Forty officers of the CBI went to the house of the Police Commissioner of Kolkata without taking any previous permission, without specific order from the Court and they wanted to question the Police Commissioner of Kolkata.

“Our Chief Minister went to the Police Commissioner’s residence and she protested but they were unrelenting. As a result, the Chief Minister went on a ‘dharna’ since last night,” he said.

Roy said the ‘satyagraha’ by the Chief Minister was to highlight the misuse of CBI against non-BJP governments.

“They have done it especially after the January 19 rally where 22 political parties got together to challenge Modi and his BJP. They are constantly using the CBI to throttle the opposition’s voice and to intimidate them. A situation like this is unforeseen in the country,” Roy said.

He said the CBI was being used against the state government illegally and politically to capture West Bengal.

“This is not the way they will succeed. In elections, they will get a big zero,” Roy said.

Other opposition parties including the Congress, NCP, RJD and the Samajwadi Party and Biju Janata Dal too criticized the CBI move.

BJD’s Bhratruhari Mahtab accused the Centre of using the Central Bureau of Investigation as a weapon against opponents.

“Yesterday’s incident questions the integrity of the CBI. The manner in which the CBI has been functioning is not professional. We are not in a Banana Republic. This should be stopped,” Mahtab said.

Recalling how the CBI barged into a judge’s office in Odisha recently, he said: “We want the CBI to be a professional institution.”

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the government and accused it of trying to finish off the opposition by using the CBI.

He claimed that such incidents were happening in Lucknow, Chennai and several other places. “No party will bow to your illegal measures,” he thundered.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh refuted the charges and termed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ongoing sit-in protest in Kolkata as “unprecedented”.

“The CBI was probing a multi-crore chit fund scam and wanted to interrogate the Kolkata Police chief. Since the scam took place in several states, the case was transferred to the CBI. The tussle between two law enforcement agencies is unfortunate and threatens the federal structure,” he said.

The Minister said he had spoken to West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.

“I have asked him to send a report on the issue,” he said, urging the state government to cooperate with the CBI probe.

As Rajnath Singh was making his statement, TMC members trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started sloganeering against the Centre.

They were joined by Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Telugu Desam Party members.

Amid the din, Speaker Mahajan tried to proceed with the Zero Hour urging the opposition members not to disrupt the proceedings. But they did not relent.

Mahajan then adjourned the House till 2 p.m.

Earlier, the opposition members created ruckus over the same issue during Zero Hour, leading to the first adjournment till noon.

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