West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's political histrionics have been brought to a screeching halt by the Supreme Court, Union Minister Smriti Irani said on Tuesday after the apex court directed the Kolkata police chief to cooperate with the CBI in the Saradha chit fund scam probe. The apex court said Kumar will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Shillong, Meghalaya, and no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata police chief, will take place during the course of the probe.
Irani said the Supreme Court had ensured that a free and fair investigation takes place, adding that her party praises and welcomes the court's order which has put constitutional restraint on "didi ki dadagiri" (Mamata's intimidation tactics). Taking a swipe at Banerjee after she claimed a moral victory following the court's order, Irani said the West Bengal chief minister has been left with egg on her face.
"With egg on her face, to celebrate it as a moral victory is a dichotomy available only to Mamata Banerjee's realm of politics," the BJP leader told reporters. After the Supreme Court's observations on Tuesday, Banerjee had said the apex court's direction that no coercive step, including the arrest of Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar, will take place during the course of the investigation is "our moral victory".
Irani said the order should be a matter of introspection and concern for Banerjee and alleged the TMC government has become a symbol of anarchy and 'goondaism'. Banerjee is on a sit-in against the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams Since Sunday night.
Mocking the get-together of different opposition parties leaders at the site of Banerjee's dharna, Irani said it has become a podium for all "scamsters", for all those who don't believe in law and support "state-sponsored anarchy". The BJP leader said the court's order that Kumar presents himself before the CBI for questioning in Shillong indicates that it does not expect fairness in West Bengal, as she claimed that a state of lawlessness exist in there.
Responding to Banerjee's claim that the court's bar on the arrest of Kumar was a victory for her, Irani said the CBI never said in its communication to Kumar that it wants to arrest him. Why is she (Banerjee) "hell bent" on political histrionics, Irani posed, attacking the TMC supremo and asked what is in Kumar's possession that perturbs Banerjee, prompting her to "save" him.
Banerjee sat on a "Save India" dharna in front of Metro Cinema in the heart of Kolkata on Sunday night insisting that the latest CBI action was tantamount to stifling the spirit of "Constitution and federalism" in the country. Several opposition leaders, including Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, DMK's Kanimozhi, RJD's Tejaswhi Yadav, have supported Banerjee's protest.
(With inputs from agencies.)