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.

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.

10 PM: Union minister Babul Supriyo demands President’s Rule, citing a law-and-order breakdown in Bengal.

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.