Who loses, who gains from CBI’s Bengal game

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during her sit-in (dharna) over CBI's attempt to question Kolkata Police Commissioner in connection with the Sharada chit-fund scam. Supreme Court has ordered Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI. Photo: PTI

Everything is fair in love and war. So is it to the run up to India’s General Elections this year. The Bengal drama has turned out to be a national drama as the opposition, including the Congress, finds it suitable to rake up anti-Modi propaganda.

Is India thinking the way Bengal is thinking?

There is a sense of fear as also brinkmanship. It also opens up questions on the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). Interestingly enough it is not formed as per provisions of constitution. It exists since 1941 as Special Police Establishment to probe into corruption and bribery cases. None knows whether it has a mandate to do that. Its actions had always been questioned and often accused of having functioned as the handmaid of the political bosses.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is gunning on that ground and has been able to bring together the opposition by raising the bogey of fear that opposition leaders are being targeted through the CBI.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to allow for the arrest of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar but just asking him to appear before the court substantiates Mamata Banerjee’s contention that the CBI should not have gone to the residence of Kumar. It also supports her posturing that the action was highhanded and unwarranted in a federal set up.

This makes it difficult for the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), though it may be correct or not on Saradha issue to bash Mamata on the issue of constitutional failure.

The Supreme Court had ordered CBI to investigate the Saradha case five years back, in May 2014. CBI has undermined its own case by gunning for the Kolkata Police Commissioner ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. It needs to answer why it dithered for so long. Was it looking for a politically opportune time? It cannot be equated with its investigations in the Godhra case.

The opposition hands are full on these from disproportionate incomes of SP (Samajwadi Party) and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) leaders of Uttar Pradesh, RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leaders of Bihar to the family of former finance minister P Chidambaram. Right or wrong these are being projected as cases more of political nature than corruption. The overdoing of CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) actions are leading to unsavoury questions.

It is now a ding-dong battle. The ruling BJP is playing the probity card while opposition plays the oppression by ruling clan—the victim card. The voters are watching the scenario with amusement. The final judgment will come from them. Till such time the political rivals can play the game to satisfy the voters as Bihar Chief Minister has said that such games will be seen everyday till the final leg of the Lok Sabha polls.

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