West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said she does not believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi misuses Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate, PTI reported.
“Every day, leaders of Opposition parties are being threatened by BJP leaders with arrest by CBI and ED,” she said. “Should central agencies function this way in the country? I don’t believe that PM Narendra Modi is behind this.”
Banerjee also pointed out that the Central Bureau of Investigation reports to the home ministry and alleged that some BJP leaders were misusing the agencies to serve their interests.
The chief minister made the remarks while addressing a session of the West Bengal Assembly on Monday during which it passed a resolution against the alleged politicisation of central investigative agencies.
West Bengal is the first state to pass such a resolution, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay said, reported the Hindustan Times.
On November 16, the state Assembly had passed a resolution against the Centre’s decision to extend the Border Security Force’s jurisdiction in the state. In the areas demarcated by the Centre, the BSF has powers of arrest, search and seize items at par with the police.
The resolution passed on Monday accused central investigative agencies of “selectively targeting [West Bengal] ruling party leaders and creating an atmosphere of fear”, reported The Print.
It said that in May, the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested Trinamool Congress leaders Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee without seeking Assembly Speaker’s permission, which is the norm.
Hakim and Mukherjee are accused of their involvement in the alleged Narada scam, in which several Trinamool Congress were allegedly seen accepting cash in return for favours.
The resolution passed by the West Bengal Assembly on Monday said that names of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders had been featured in alleged chit fund scams but investigative agencies did not take any action against them.
The document accused the agencies of being part of a “larger conspiracy to topple democratically-elected governments and playing politics of hate”.
In the Assembly, 189 MLAs voted in favour of the resolution, while 69 voted against it, according to PTI. Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari claimed that such a resolution was against the Assembly rules.
Cases against TMC leaders
Currently, central investigative agencies are looking into several cases against Trinamool Congress leaders. The Enforcement Directorate has named the party’s general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee as accused persons for their involvement in alleged illegal coal mining and theft from the mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited in West Bengal’s Kunustoria and Kajora areas.
The Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating Partha Chatterjee, who was the state industry minister at the time, in a case pertaining to alleged irregularities in the recruitment of staff in schools through the School Service Commission.
The agency is also looking into some cases related to post-poll violence in West Bengal after the results of Assembly elections were declared last year.