A chronology of dramatic events that unfolded in the evening of February 3 and the morning of the next day as the CBI tried to books the commissioner of Kolkata Police for dragging his feet over investigations into the Ponzi scam and probably tampering with the evidence of crime in the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund cases
Kolkata/New Delhi: This Sunday was not meant to be a normal day, at least in Mamata Banerjee's Bengal. When CBI officials reached Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence to interrogate him, little did they know that they themselves will be hounded, shoved and whisked to a police station and detained by the Kolkata Police, whose chief they had come to question. Soon it became less about legal nuance and more about political posturing. Banerjee-led TMC says the country’s federal structure is under threat while Narendra Modi-led BJP would like us to believe the CBI team is in Kolkata for a crackdown on corruption.
Here’s a break-up of a bizarre day in the life and times of Bengal that encompasses a kind of madness that sets the tone for the 2019 general election.
5.30-6 PM: CBI team reaches the residence of the commissioner of Kolkata Police. Rajeev Kumar was heading the special investigation team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams that had surfaced in the state in 2013.
6.15 PM: Kolkata Police personnel waiting outside the Kolkata CP residence block the passage of the CBI team.
6.30 PM: The CBI team is shoved inside a Kolkata Police jeep, detained and whisked away.
6.45 PM: Kolkata Police take the CBI team to Shakespeare Sarani police station.
6.45 PM: Mamata Banerjee starts a meeting at Kolkata CP’s residence. Top-ranking police officials are present.
8.30 PM: Banerjee comes out of the CP’s residence.
8.35 PM: Banerjee addresses media, flanked by minister Firhad Hakim. She accuses Modi and Amit Shah of plotting a ‘coup’.
8.30 PM onwards: Several opposition leaders speak out in support of Banerjee. Arvind Kejriwal, Tejashwi Yadav have already expressed their support. Mayawati, Stalin, Deve Gowda, Akhilesh Yadav, Omar Abdullah, Chandra Babu Naidu, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and Mehbooba Mufti express solidarity.
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
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 .
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.
8.45 PM: MHA orders the CRPF to take position at CGO Complex that houses the CBI headquarters in Kolkata.
9 PM: Banerjee starts a dharna (sit-in demonstration). Top aides, ministers and top cops including Kolkata Police commissioner join her.
9.10 PM: Detained CBI officials are allowed to go. Soon after, stepping out, they say they have followed the procedure.
9.30 PM: Union government asks paramilitary forces to take control of all central government offices in Kolkata.
Central forces take control of CGO Complex & other central govt offices in Kolkata... while— Dr. Anirban Ganguly (@anirbanganguly) February 3, 2019
Good that #MamataBlocksCBI attempt fails, let her now carry on with her drama
10 PM: Union minister Babul Supriyo demands President’s Rule, citing a law-and-order breakdown in Bengal.
What's happening in Bengal?— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) February 3, 2019
- Arrests CBI
- Denied permission for rallies
- Doesn’t let @AmitShah’s choppers land
- Let’s her goonda party men to kill BJP supporters
- Insults federal system
We demand #PresidentRuleInBengal. #MamataFearsBJP#MamataBlocksCBI
10.30 PM: CBI decides to move Supreme Court on Monday in the morning.
11 PM: CBI defends its stand.
11.30 PM: Banerjee asks her ministers to prepare for the Budget. She is believed to have instructed her district leadership to be prepared for an agitation on Monday.
12.30 PM: Tent erected at the dharna site.
12.45 PM: Scattered incidents of protests, blockades start trickling in from across Bengal.
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Last Updated Feb 4, 2019, 11:59 AM IST