Mamata says BJP report will interfere with CBI probe
NEW DELHI/DARJEELING, March 30 (PTI): A BJP fact-finding team Wednesday submitted its report to party chief J P Nadda on the recent massacre of nine people in West Bengal’s Birbhum, claiming “mafia rule” prevailed in the state with the connivance of police and political leadership, provoking sharp reaction from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who said the report will “weaken and interfere” with the CBI probe in the case.
The BJP team, including four former IPS officers, demanded central intervention for restoration of the “collapsed” law and order situation in the state.
The party had constituted a five-member team in the aftermath of the violence in Bogtui village in Birbhum district, where eight people were burnt alive, while one more succumbed to the injuries a week later, after a mob set some houses ablaze allegedly in retaliation for the killing of a ruling TMC leader Bhadu Sheikh on March 21.
The panel comprised Rajya Sabha MP and former Uttar Pradesh police chief Brajlal, Lok Sabha MP and former Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh, Rajya Sabha MP and former IPS officer KC Ramamurthy, a national spokesperson for the party, former West Bengal cadre IPS officer Bharati Ghosh and state BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar.
The law and order machinery has totally collapsed in West Bengal under the TMC rule and there is a rule of the mafia in the state that’s run with the connivance of police and the political leadership, the report said.
Claiming that “state-sponsored extortion, goonda tax, cut-money and tolabazi (organised extortion)” were the main reasons behind the violence, the report said the Centre should intervene and direct officials of the All India Services like the IPS and the IAS to follow the rule of law.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC boss Mamata Banerjee reacted with expected outrage.
Lashing out at the saffron party, Banerjee said the report mentions the name of TMC Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal, which “clearly shows the vindictive attitude of the BJP”.
“The BJP report on Bogtui killings will weaken and interfere with the probe. I condemn this attitude of the saffron party,” Banerjee told reporters in Darjeeling.
She said there should be no interference from any political party in the investigation.
“When an investigation is on, there should not be any interference from any (political) party or any side. Investigation must be free and fair. Party interference at this moment is misuse and abuse of power which may distort the probe and people will lose their confidence in the investigation,” she said.
Her party colleagues, while promising to cooperate with the CBI, which has been asked by the Calcutta High Court to probe the incident, had earlier warned of mass agitations if the BJP tries to influence the investigation.
“They have mentioned my district president’s name. This is a biased and vindictive attitude. Without completion of the probe, how can they name him? It shows they want him to get arrested. This is personal vendetta. They are hatching a conspiracy,” she alleged.
Talking to reporters after submitting the report to Nadda in the national capital, West Bengal BJP president Sukant Majumdar said the state urgently needs central intervention for restoration of law and order as “complete lawlessness” prevails and the state police is colluding with the ruling TMC.
The team alleged it was attacked during its visit and not a single officer or even a constable came to rescue.
The West Bengal government had constituted an SIT to probe the killings that sparked national outrage before the high court decided to hand over the investigation to the CBI.