Shah stings police chief

BJP demands Rajeev Kumar resignation, moves EC

By Our Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 30.03.16
Amit Shah at the news conference. (Bibhash Lodh)

Calcutta, March 29: BJP president Amit Shah today alleged that Calcutta police chief Rajeev Kumar was behind the alleged "sting" on party leader Rahul Sinha and demanded his removal.

"We have heard about sting operation by journalists. In Bengal, policemen are conducting sting operations. This was a clear attempt to frame Rahul," Shah told the media this afternoon.

Two policemen from the special branch had yesterday gone to the state BJP headquarters in central Calcutta and allegedly offered Sinha money for help in smuggling cattle to Bangladesh.

Sinha, a former state party president, turned them over to the police and the assistant sub-inspector and constable were suspended. The BJP leader blamed chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the "conspiracy" and said it was an attempt to blunt the Narada News sting, in which images resembling several top Trinamul leaders are seen accepting money.

But Shah today singled out the "Calcutta police commissioner" for attack.

"Why are you taking steps against chhota sipahis (junior policemen)? The state government sent the police personnel and it could not have been done without the knowledge of the police commissioner. The Election Commission of India should remove him," the BJP leader said.

In New Delhi, a BJP team led by minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission demanding the police chief's removal and the two policemen's arrest.

"As an agent of the ruling TMC, Shri Rajeev Kumar, the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata is known as snooping cop of Kolkata and conducts illegal surveillance & interception on leaders.... He was made CP just before election to facilitate the ruling party," the BJP memorandum said.

Repeated attempts to contact Kumar for his reaction drew a blank as he did not take calls or respond to text messages. No one from Trinamul was available for comment either.

In Calcutta, Sinha met the chief electoral officer with the demand for a CBI probe and Kumar's removal.

"The commission will look into the allegations against the Calcutta police commissioner and others and take action if needed to ensure free and fair elections. At present, the chief electoral officer of West Bengal is seized with the issue," a source in the Election Commission said in Delhi.

In Calcutta, at an informal interaction with journalists, Shah alleged that Bengal police had "sabotaged" the Saradha probe and made it difficult for the CBI to investigate further. He denied the Left-Congress allegation that an understanding between Narendra Modi and Mamata had slammed the brakes on the probe.

"There is no understanding with Trinamul though Mamatadi likes to pretend so. Modiji said what he had to say. I have also said today. There is no match-fixing from our side," he added.

At the three rallies she held in Purulia today, Mamata did not mention Narada.

At his rally in Kharagpur on Sunday, Modi had said: "First Saradha then Narada... From Saradha to Narada the entire leadership is in front of the camera. Is this the change you wanted?"

Shah picked up from where the Prime Minister had left off, saying the " Maa-Mati-Manush" government had turned into a "bhookh-bhay-bhrashtachar" (hunger-fear-corruption) regime.

He asked why Mamata had not sought a CBI probe into Narada, saying that if she were to make the request, it would be cleared in 36 hours.

CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, addressing a news conference, said: "The Trinamul and BJP are two sides of the same coin. They have an understanding. Does he (Shah) think that Trinamul will order a CBI inquiry into Narada? We hardly expect anything from the Centre in this regard."