West Bengal DGP Virendra Kumar on Monday told the Supreme Court that no police officer, "in uniform or otherwise", ever sat or joined the 'dharna' by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the February 3 incident of the CBI trying to quiz Kolkata.police commissioner in Saradha chit fund scam. Refuting the CBI's allegations, he said whatever action was taken by the police was due to the fact that Banerjee is a Z plus protectee and he was present at the site, where she sat on dharna, "in order to perform government duties of providing safety and security to the Chief Minister."
Kumar, who was responding to the February 5 contempt notice issued to him, said the incident at the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner was widely reported in the media "albeit incorrectly" and the situation in and around Kolkata became "very tense". "The intelligence input was received that volatile crowd was likely to assemble at the CGO Complex, where the CBI office is situated, in protest, and may cause damage to the government property etc.
"Accordingly, in-charge Bidhannagar North PS left for the CGO Complex with available force and officers to prevent any mischief or damage/destruction to any government property," he said in the affidavit and denied that there was any violation of the apex court orders in connection with the chit fund scam. The CBI had alleged that Kolkata.police obstructed the agency in carrying out its probe in the chit fund scam and after the February 3 incident, the state police including the DGP and Kolkata.police commissioner joined the chief minister in uniform while she was sitting on 'dharna'.
Denying the allegation, the DGP said, "No police officer, ever sat or joined the dharna along with the Chief Minister in uniform or otherwise at any given point in time. "It is denied that the answering respondent (Kumar) sat on the dharna with the Chief Minister, at any given point in time. It is further emphatically denied that the deponent (Kumar) was sitting along with the other persons on dharna, in uniform or otherwise," the affidavit said.
Kumar contended that the chief minister is the administrative head of the state and a Z plus protectee, and he as DGP is responsible for the security of Chief Minister and other protectees even in General Police District of Kolkata City besides West Bengal Police area. In light of which, he said he was present there in order to perform government duties of providing safety and security to the Chief Minister who is a Z plus protectee.
"The programme of dharna of Chief Minister was totally unscheduled and at a time when there was the intelligence of likely disturbance due to inexplicable action of CBI. The crowd at Metro Channel (site of dharana) was increasing by the minute, and it took considerable time and a lot of combined effort to control the crowd, media etc. and to make the dharna site orderly where the Chief Minister was present. "Since it was an unscheduled programme, there was no prior arrangement of security, crowd control, maintenance of law and order etc.", he said adding that coordination of efforts to tackle the impending law and order situation in different areas of the state which might arise due to the inexplicable action of the CBI.
He said that on February 3 itself as well as on the subsequent days "there were demonstrations, road blockades, rail blockades, etc spread over the state, which mandated that the DGP was on site to observe and instruct accordingly. He said there was a need for coordination between different agencies and administration to look after various events taking place at different places in the city on February 4.
He said that the state agencies have always acted in the interest of investigation by the CBI, and provided safety and security to the CBI establishment by way of deploying the police personnel there whenever there has been any agitation or demonstration by of investor groups and politicians. "The state police authorities extended 'bandhobasts' and provided police protection at the instance of the CBI at various occasions, which fact has conveniently not been placed on record by the Petitioner/CBI in the petition before this Court, with the sole intent to prejudice this Court," he said.
The DGP said after the CBI action, which took place on the evening of February 3, without valid papers, the Chief Minister has got this information, went to meet the family members of the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata at his residence. "From there, the Chief Minister directly went to Metro Channel, Dharmatala for 'satyagraha' .... which was completely unscheduled," he said adding that none of the police officers went to the dharna manch after Banerjee started the 'satyagraha' at 1 am.
"None of the Police Officers went on the dharna manch. The very next day i.e. on February 4, a police programme was also held separately from a different dias in front of the police outpost," he said in the affidavit. The affidavit was in response to the allegation that the DGP willfully violated apex court's orders of May 9, 2014, February 5, 2015, December 15, 2017 and July 16, 2018 in connection with the chit fund scam and caused obstruction in the course of justice.
(With inputs from agencies.)