Mamata vs Centre updates: Corruption will never stick to Mamata Banerjee's white saree, says Derek O'Brien

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Mamata vs Centre updates: Corruption will never stick to Mamata Banerjee's white saree, says Derek O'Brien
  • 15:59 (IST)

    Corruption will never stick to Mamata's white saree, says TMC leader Derek O'Brien

    "The most corrupt people in this country are Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. Corruption will never stick to the white saree that Mamata Banerjee wears," said Trinamool Congress Party leader Derek O'Brien to News18.

    "The power of the Opposition rally drove the BJP to take this measure. The officer (Rajeev Kumar) is honest and upright and has integrity. There is not a single Trinamool logo in sight. This is a chief minister giving a strong message to the people of the state that we are Bengal and we will stand proud," he added.

  • 15:56 (IST)

    Why is Mamata so worried about Rajeev Kumar, asks Ravi Shankar Prasad

    Mamata, who has remained silent over the arrest of two of the Trinamool Congress Party's MPs, Madan Mitra and Sudip Bandopadhyay, is now worried about a 1989-batch IPS officer, why? 

    Prasad said all fingers point to the fact that, "this police commissioner knows a lot, and has to be saved," 

  • 15:49 (IST)

    Congress' 2014 tweet in the fore 

    The Twitterati had a field day over a 2014 tweet posted by Congress. The tweet mentioned Congress president Rahul Gandhi's quote on victims of the Saradha chit fund scam. 

  • 15:48 (IST)

    Ravi Shankar Prasad calls Mamata, supporters 'coalition of corrupt people'

    Calling Mamata Banerjee and her supporters an "alliance of corrupt people", Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference that it was not a "crime" to lead an investigation into corruption. 

    "They have emerged as a coalition of the corrupt to save each other," he said, adding, "I have never seen a policeman sit in a dharna."

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Could the Mamata versus CBI drama have been averted? 

    The CBI justified this raid on the pretext that they had issued two notices to Kumar, who was in charge of the investigation into the Saradha scam as the head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the West Bengal government, before the case was handed over to it by an order of the Supreme Court. Before and after the aborted raid, the CBI also said that Kumar faced arrest since he was a ‘suspect’ in the case. In addition, the CBI had claimed on Saturday that he was absconding and was ‘being looked for’.

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  • 15:29 (IST)

    BJD clears stand, says it is not 'grouping with political parties'

    "Based on media reports on the CBI issue, BJD would like to clarify that the statement by BJD on CBI is in relation to Odisha and the overall issues confronting the CBI at a national level. Grouping BJD with some political parties because of this statement is incorrect and misleading," ANI quoted the party has having said.

    BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab had criticised the CBI's conduct in Kolkata in the Parliament, earlier on Monday.

  • 15:22 (IST)

    BJP asks Mamata why she is 'petrified' if she is 'innocent'

    Much of the pitched battle fought by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been playing out on Twitter, with Opposition leaders tweeting support for her through Sunday and Monday.

    Meanwhile, the BJP too has tweeted through the party's official handle, saying "Why are you so petrified of CBI investigation when you have done no wrong, Mamata Didi?"

  • 15:10 (IST)

    Mass Opposition show "woke" the Modi government up

    "The Modi government woke up when we organised a mass rally on 19 January. An effort began from that day to finish the Opposition. But we will continue this protest. We will sing celebrating our fighting spirit," said Mamata at the protest venue, the Metro Channel in Kolkata.

  • 14:44 (IST)

    West Bengal govt yet to receive CBI's Supreme Court application

    The West Bengal hasn't received the application filed by the CBI in the Supreme Court, CNN-News18 reported. The state lawyers are now in a state of confusion as CJI Ranjan Gogoi had posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

  • 14:31 (IST)

    West Bengal governor submits report to MHA

    Union home minister Rajnath Singh earlier in the day spoke to West Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to take stock of the situation in the wake of a CBI team being allegedly obstructed by the state police to grill the Kolkata Police commissioner in the Saradha ponzi scam case. 

    The Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a report on the role of IPS officers on allegations of obstructing investigation and violation of Service Conduct Rules in Sunday's incident in Kolkata. 

  • 14:19 (IST)

    TMC workers hold protests across West Bengal
     
    TMC workers hit the streets from morning in Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura, Burdwan East, Purulia, Birbhum and North 24 Parganas districts. Effigies of Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah were also burnt by them.
     
    In Howrah and Hooghly districts, TMC activists obstructed train movement while they put up blockades on national highway in Bankura district. Shouting slogans against the CBI, the TMC cadres vowed to continue their fight till the Narendra Modi government is defeated in the next Lok Sabha polls.
     
    PTI
     

  • 14:05 (IST)

    Anything can happen till Lok Sabha dates are announced, says Nitish Kumar

    Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar refused to comment on the issue on Monday. "These things can only be explained by people who are doing it. I don’t react to such things; the CBI and the government in question will explain. Until the Election Commission announces the date of elections, anything can happen in the country."

  • 13:56 (IST)

    Who is Rajeev Kumar?

    Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar is currently in the centre of an unprecedented standoff between the CBI and the West Bengal government. 

    According to News18, Kumar is originally from Uttar Pradesh, and holds a degree in computer science from the erstwhile University of Roorkee (now IIT Roorkee).

    The 1989-batch IPS officer was heading an SIT on the Saradha and Rose Valley scams. The CBI wanted the top officer to hand over the seizure list made during his probe. The top cop was to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he hadn't been responding to notices to appear before the agency.

  • 13:39 (IST)

    Kolkata Police moves Calcutta HC

    The Kolkata Police moved Calcutta High Court against the CBI action on Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. The plea sought urgent hearing today. However, the court said that the matter wasn't urgent and will be heard tomorrow, reports CNN-News18.

  • 13:32 (IST)

    Mamata chairs cabinet meeting during dharna

    West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is holding a cabinet meeting in a place adjacent to the dharna venue.

  • 13:28 (IST)

    TMC doesn't believe in democracy, says Sitharaman

    BJP delegation including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and general-secretary Bhupendra Yadav met Election Commission on Monday on West Bengal issue.

    Speaking to reporters, Sitharaman said, "In the interest of wanting to have a free and fair environment in which elections can be conducted, we’ve come to bring to the notice of Election Commission certain happenings in West Bengal, which has complete cooperation of TMC. Instances we highlighted point out that TMC doesn't believe in democracy."

  • 13:07 (IST)

    TMC thanks regional parties which supported Mamata 

    In a series of tweets, TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien thanked all the leaders, including HD Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy, Yashwant Sinha, Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi, Mayawati, and other regional leaders for standing by Mamata. 

  • 13:03 (IST)

    Centre misusing CBI as elections are nearing: Akhilesh

    Akhilesh Yadav says, “I spoke to Mamata ji and assured her we are with her in this battle. Not just West Bengal, the center is misusing CBI as the elections are coming near. Along with Bengal, many other states have been misusing CBI especially around elections."

  • 13:01 (IST)

    Country is in danger of becoming dictatorial, Mamata is right: Farooq Abdullah

    Asserting that allegations by Mamata Banerjee are right, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said that the country is in danger as its becoming dictatorial. "Her (Mamata Banerjee) allegation is right. They (central government) are not masters of this country, people are."

  • 12:50 (IST)

    RECAP: How Sunday dharna unfolded

    CBI team has landed at Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence, reports have said. Kolkata Police detain some members of the CBI team after a scuffle and, later on, surround their office. Central forces deployed outside CBI office. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, after meeting Rajeev Kumar, sits on an indefinite dharna in protest against the Centre. These were the sequence of bizarre events that played out on Sunday evening in Kolkata. 

  • 12:30 (IST)

    CBI acted because Rajeev Kumar wasn't co-operating, says Rajnath

    Amid growing ruckus in the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "The CBI was compelled to take this action as Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar was not cooperating in the investigation. The police commissioner was summoned many times but he did not appear."

    He further said that the Supreme Court had told CBI to investigate the chit fund matter "fairly" so there is "nothing unconstitutional" in what happened on Sunday. The Lok Sabha was adjourned till 2pm over uproar by Opposition parties, following Rajnath's speech.

  • 12:18 (IST)

    Mamata staging dharna to save herself, says Javadekar

    Hitting out at the West Bengal government, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said at the BJP press conference, "The constitutional mechanism on Bengal has completely collapsed. I am surprised that she (Mamata) is targetting the Modi government. It has never happened so that a state has completely stopped the CBI from entering. Even when Narendra Modi was the chief minister, the erstwhile Congress government at the Centre tried to put him in jail. Even then, Modi allowed an enquiry against him. This is a Rs 40,000 crore chit fund scam. Mamata is staging a dharna to save herself."

  • 12:13 (IST)

    Why is Mamata shielding top cop, asks BJP

    Addressing a press conference, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Why is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee protesting for a police commissioner? Why is she running away from an inquiry? What is she trying to hide."

  • 12:08 (IST)

    Modi govt trying to scare everyone using CBI, says Akhilesh Yadav

    "BJP and central govt have started misusing CBI as elections are approaching. Not only I, not only Samajwadi Party, but all political parties are saying this," Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav said.

  • 12:01 (IST)

    A matter of India's dignity if CBI being misused, says Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut 

    Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Monday, "If the chief minister of a state like West Bengal is sitting on dharna, then it is a serious matter. Whether this is CBI vs Mamata Banerjee or Mamata Banerjee vs BJP, we'll find out soon. If CBI is being misused, it's a matter of dignity of the nation, and prestige of the agency."

  • 11:57 (IST)

    MHA seeks answers from Kolkata Police

    The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report on the role of IPS officers on allegations of obstructing investigation and violation of Service Conduct Rules in Sunday's incident in Kolkata.

  • 11:52 (IST)

    Modi to hold meet over CBI issue

    Narendra Modi will meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and Union minister Nitin Gadkari over West Bengal issue.

  • 11:51 (IST)

    Demonetisation 'biggest silent killer', says Mamata

    "Rs. 5,000 per farmer per year has been announced (proposed in the Budget). Demonetisation has been the biggest silent killer," Mamata said during the farmers' rally.

    "We won't take money from the Centre for farmers. We have tripled farmers income. A farmer from age 18-60 years will get pension under the scheme. We had announced this scheme in January in the state Secretariat," she said.

  • 11:44 (IST)

    Mamata addresses farmers from dharna site

    Speaking about the West Bengal government's efforts for farmers, Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee said, "The farmers receive aid from the state. Though the Centre contributes a little bit, the farmer bears the most of the burden. My government has brought in many measures to ensure that farmers live comfortably. I have instituted awards, festivals, etc aimed at fortifying the security of farmers' lives."

  • 11:30 (IST)

    Mamata attacks Modi govt for attacking 'democratic rights'

    Addressing the 'Krishak Samabesh' via video conferencing, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee targetted the NDA government and accused,"People are unable to speak out of fear. Their democratic rights have been stolen. (TMC leaders) Becharam Manna, Purnendu Bose, Subrata Bakshi... you are all here. You know what is happening. The BJP government led by Modi have stolen our night's sleep."

  • 11:16 (IST)

    Worse than Emergency: Deve Gowda on situation in Bengal

    JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda said, "The CBI went to arrest Kolkata Police commissioner on Sunday. This is a misuse of CBI. It is much worse than Emergency."

  • 11:10 (IST)

    TMC MPs disrupt RS proceedings

    The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm after TMC MPs disrupted proceedings on Monday and rushed to the Well. The MPs were demanding discussion on the situation in West Bengal.

  • 11:06 (IST)

    West Bengal governor apprises MHA of situation

    West Bengal governor Keshav Nath Tripathi has apprised the Ministry of Home Affairs of the situation in the state, according to CNN-News18. Tripathi has also summoned the chief secretary.

  • 11:03 (IST)

    Samajwadi Party's Kiranmoy Nanda meet Mamata

    West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has been staging a dharna in Dharamtala since 8.45 pm on Sunday. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is expected to meet her at 12 pm.

  • 10:57 (IST)

    Rajeev Kumar must surrender, says CBI; SC asks for material

    Representing the CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said before the Supreme Court: "Our team was arrested and kept in alleged custody. Kolkata Police Commissioner should immediately surrender."

    CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked what the urgency was and then posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday at 10.30 am. Gogoi said, "If Kolkata Police commissioner even remotely thinks of destroying evidence, bring the material before this court. We will come down so heavily on him that he will regret." 

  • 10:53 (IST)

    Supreme Court rejects Centre's plea for urgent hearing
     

    The Supreme Court posted for Tuesday a CBI plea seeking directions to Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to cooperate with the investigation in Saradha chit fund case.

  • 10:42 (IST)

    Derek O'Brien says Opposition parties to meet EC

    TMC leader Derek O'Brien said that the party has spoken to all Opposition parties over the issue. "We have to save the Constitution, the country and the federal structure. Later today, all Opposition parties will go to the Election Commission," he said. 22 Opposition parties, including TMC, are going to the Election Commission on Monday over the issue of EVM rigging.

  • 10:38 (IST)

    Mamata's dharna venue was where she held 2006 hunger strike 

    Mamata Banerjee is being dubbed the 'street fighter' who has returned, certain media reports have said. The West Bengal chief minister's move to pull off an overnight 'Save the Constitution' dharna is being seen as a repeat of 2006 protest against Singur Tata factory. "This is a Satyagraha and I'll continue till the country is saved," Banerjee told reporters on Monday who accompanied her at the place of dharna.

    The TMC chief is known for her fierce steps on issues that concern her. Interestingly, the Dharamtala venue, where she's holding the sit-in since Sunday night, is the the same place where she held a hunger strike during the 2006 protests.

  • 10:31 (IST)

    CRPF deployed outside CBI office, says report

    Aaj Tak reported that CRPF personnel have been deployed outside the CBI office in Kolkata.

  • 10:14 (IST)

    AAP submits notice in Rajya Sabha for suspension of business

    AAP MP Sanjay Singh has given notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 for suspension of business, demanding discussion on 'misuse of CBI'.

  • 10:12 (IST)

    Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar leaves Dharamtala venue

    After meeting Mamata Banerjee, Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar left from the site of 'Save the Constitution' dharna. 

  • 10:09 (IST)

    Nalin Kohli slams Opposition parties for backing TMC

    BJP leader Nalin Kohli hit out at the Opposition parties on Monday for extending support to TMC. "It is ironically to know their (Opposition) leaders are being investigated for mega scams or are out of bail," he said while addressing reporters. Meanwhile, the BJD will meet in Parliament to decide and issue clarity on its stand on the CBI issue.

  • 10:00 (IST)

    TRS to maintain neutral stand

    TRS has said that it will maintain a neutral stand on the issue. In a statement, the party said that it would not want to interfere in other states' affairs.

  • 09:58 (IST)

    BJP worried after successful Opposition rally, says TDP chief

    Andhra chief minister Chandrababu Naidu lashed out at the BJP for targetting Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal. "BJP is worried after successful Opppostion rally... After Akhilesh, Mayawati, the BJP-led government is now after Mamata," he was quoted as saying by CNN-News18.

  • 09:55 (IST)

    Opposition parties to meet in Delhi

    TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said that the Opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Monday. They are also likely to draft an action plan for a "nationwide movement".

  • 09:45 (IST)

    CBI left with zero credibility, says journalist Shekhar Gupta 

    "Only the gullible, or the faithful will believe it suddenly woke up to Saradha scam and went straight to grab a state’s DGP weeks before polls," senior journalist Shekhar Gupta wrote on Twitter.

  • 09:41 (IST)

    Mamata should be reminded how she sacked RK Pachnanda, says Amit Malviya

    BJP IT head Amit Malviya wrote on Twitter that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee should be reminded of how she sacked RK Pachnanda as the police commissioner in 2013 "just because he arrested a TMC cadre for killing a cop". "Constitution was not in danger then? But a Supreme Court-monitored investigation against massive scams puts it in peril?" he asked.

  • 09:25 (IST)

    CBI will mention matter in Supreme Court at 10.30 am

    The CBI will seek contempt proceedings against West Bengal chief secretary, DGP and Kolkata commissioner Rajeev Kumar. It will also seek a directive for Kumar to join probe. Advocate and Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi will represent the West Bengal government in Supreme Court.

  • 09:21 (IST)

    15 parties to raise issue in Lok Sabha

    As Mamata Banerjee's dharna continues in Kolkata, about 15 parties are expected to raise the issue in Lok Sabha on Monday. The West Bengal chief minister will also hold a cabinet meeting at the sit-in site, CNN-News18 reported.

  • 09:15 (IST)

    What happened on Sunday

    In an unprecedented development Sunday evening, Banerjee sat on a dharna, protesting CBI's attempt to quiz Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar in connection with chit fund scams.

    A CBI team, which went to Kumar's residence in the city's Loudon Street area, was denied permission, bundled into police jeeps and were whisked to a police station.

    The CBI wants to quiz Kumar, who led a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal police probing the scams, regarding missing documents and files.

Mamata vs CBI LATEST updates: Trinamool Congress Party leader Derek O'Brien said on Monday that the most corrupt people in this country are Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. "Corruption will never stick to the white saree that Mamata Banerjee wears," he said.

"The power of the Opposition rally drove the BJP to take this measure. The officer (Rajeev Kumar) is honest and upright and has integrity. There is not a single Trinamool logo in sight. This is a chief minister giving a strong message to the people of the state that we are Bengal and we will stand proud," O'Brien added.

Calling Mamata Banerjee and her supporters an "alliance of corrupt people", Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a press conference that it was not a "crime" to lead an investigation into corruption.  "They have emerged as a coalition of the corrupt to save each other," he said, adding, "I have never seen a policeman sit in a dharna."

Odisha's ruling party, the BJD, meanwhile sought to clear its stand. "Based on media reports on the CBI issue, BJD would like to clarify that the statement by BJD on CBI is in relation to Odisha and the overall issues confronting the CBI at a national level. Grouping BJD with some political parties because of this statement is incorrect and misleading," ANI quoted the party has having said.

Speaking from the protest venue in Kolkata, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said, "The Modi government woke up when we organised a mass rally on 19 January. An effort began from that day to finish the Opposition. But we will continue this protest. We will sing celebrating our fighting spirit."

West Bengal governor Keshav Nath Tripathi submitted a report to the Minstry of Home Affairs on the situation in the state. Union home minister Rajnath Singh earlier in the day spoke to Tripathi to take stock of the situation in the wake of a CBI team being allegedly obstructed by the state police to grill the Kolkata Police commissioner in the Saradha ponzi scam case.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar refused to comment on the issue on Monday. "Until the Election Commission announces the date of elections, anything can happen in the country," he said. Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is holding a cabinet meeting in a place adjacent to the dharna venue.

The Kolkata Police moved Calcutta High Court against the CBI action on Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. The plea sought urgent hearing on Monday. However, the court said that the matter wasn't urgent and will be heard on Tuesday.

Asserting that allegations by Mamata Banerjee are right, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said that the country is in danger as its becoming dictatorial. "Her (Mamata Banerjee) allegation is right. They (central government) are not masters of this country, people are."

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar says, "Opposition parties have supported Mamata Banerjee. Who are these people? They are out on bail. Such people are standing together. This is not Mahagathbandhan, they are divided by vision and united by corruption. The corrupt are standing together. Whatever is happening in Kolkata is one of a kind. Never before was an investigating team taken into custody by police. It's murder of democracy. We want to ask Mamata Banerjee why is she staging dharna, who does she want to shield? Police Commissioner or herself?"

As TMC MPs created ruckus in Lok Sabha, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "The CBI was compelled to take this action as the Kolkata police commissioner was not cooperating in the investigation."

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report on the role of IPS officers on allegations of obstructing investigation and violation of Service Conduct Rules in Sunday's incident in Kolkata. Narendra Modi will meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, and Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday over West Bengal issue.

Meanwhile, West Bengal governor Keshav Nath Tripathi earlier on Monday apprised the Ministry of Home Affairs of the situation in the state. Tripathi has also summoned the chief secretary.

When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the CBI's plea against Rajeev Kumar, CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked what the urgency was and then posted the matter for hearing on Tuesday at 10.30 am. Gogoi said, "If Kolkata Police commissioner even remotely thinks of destroying evidence, bring the material before this court. We will come down so heavily on him that he will regret."

The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm after TMC MPs disrupted proceedings on Monday and rushed to the Well. The MPs were demanding discussion on the situation in West Bengal. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court rejected urgent hearing for a plea by CBI against Rajeev Kumar in chit funds cases. The matter will be heard tomorrow.

According to reports, CRPF personnel have been deployed outside the CBI office in Kolkata. Meanwhile, AAP MP Sanjay Singh has given notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 for suspension of business, demanding discussion on 'misuse of CBI'.

As Mamata Banerjee's dharna continues in Kolkata, about 15 parties are expected to raise the issue in Lok Sabha on Monday. Meanwhile, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said that the Opposition parties will meet in Delhi on Monday and draft an action plan on a nationwide movement.

The CBI will seek contempt proceedings against West Bengal chief secretary, DGP and Kolkata commissioner Rajeev Kumar. It will also seek a directive for Kumar to join probe. Advocate and Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi will represent the West Bengal government in Supreme Court.

As Mamata Banerjee's dharna continues in Kolkata, about 15 parties are expected to raise the issue in Lok Sabha on Monday. The West Bengal chief minister will also hold a cabinet meeting at the sit-in site.

A BJP delegation is likely to meet the Election Commission at 12.30 pm to protest West Bengal's government "move" to to bar party choppers. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will lead the delegation.

After Mamata Banerjee began her sit-in on Sunday, she claimed that she was being targetted because she had organised the United India rally in January. As she hit out at the Narendra Modi government, she told her supporters: "Organise rallies tomorrow (Monday) between 2-4 pm in every block of the state. Wear black badges and carry black flags to register your protest. We are not afraid. If he wants to impose President’s Rule, we will see. We have to ensure Modi is ousted from power in 2019."

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, BSP leader Mayawati, NCP's Sharad Pawar, and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal were among the several Opposition leaders who spoke to Mamata Banerjee on Sunday over phone to express solidarity.

In an unprecedented development on Sunday evening, Mamata sat on a dharna, protesting CBI's attempt to quiz Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar in connection with chit fund scams. The chief minister stayed the night on a makeshift dais along with some senior ministers and party members. Mamata said she will continue her Satyagraha till the country and its Constitution are "saved".

Opposition parties late Sunday night expressed solidarity with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who began a sit-in protest over the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chit fund scams, as the Congress termed it "mala fide" and an "assault" on the federal polity.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi called up Banerjee and extended support to her, saying the entire opposition is together and it will defeat the fascist forces.

He alleged the events in West Bengal were part of an unrelenting attack on India's institutions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

He said the Congress stood shoulder to shoulder with Banerjee who is on an overnight dharna.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister M Chandrababu Naidu said it was a glaring example of how "Modi-Shah duo are destroying the institutions".

Mamata vs Centre updates: Corruption will never stick to Mamata Banerjees white saree, says Derek OBrien

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at her sit-in protest in Kolkata on Sunday night. PTI

"Attacking political opponents in different States, few days before the Parliament elections commence, will have disastrous consequences in the country," he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also came out in support of the TMC chief. "Spoke to Mamta didi and expressed solidarity. Modi-Shah duo's action is completely bizarre and anti-democracy," he tweeted.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav termed the CBI's action undemocratic and against the spirit of the Constitution.

"The BJP wants to stay in power by hook or by crook. They are so scared of losing that CBI is being used as election agents. This is undemocratic and against spirit of the constitution. We demand due process be followed so that CBI is not used as a tool of political interference," he said on Twitter.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the CBI action in Kolkata is clearly "mala fide" and an "assault" on the federal polity, which has come within 48 hours of Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah's public "threat" to him.

He alleged that the BJP and the prime minister are desperate to create a controversy in the state for "cheap publicity and divisiveness" to get some space in 2019 elections.

He claimed the Modi government has ensured a non-functional and non-productive Parliament session going by such assaults on the federal polity on a Sunday evening.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, "Investigative agencies are constitutional bodies and need to operate within the parameters of law.

"They cannot act at the behest of any political party or any extra constitutional authority."

Rashtriya Janata Dal national president Lalu Prasad said the Constitution and constitutional institutions in the country were facing an "unprecedented crisis" and alleged that there were "attempts to plunge the country into a civil war".

"The common public of the country is against the BJP and its coalition partner - a partisan CBI. We stand with @MamataBanerjeeOfficial. There is a brazen display of dictatorship.

"It is the greatest danger to democracy. The Constitution and constitutional institutions are facing an unprecedented crisis. Attempts are being made to plunge the country into a civil war for electoral gains," Prasad tweeted in Hindi.

Prasad's official twitter handle is operated by people close to him as he is serving sentences in connection with fodder scam cases and admitted at a hospital in Ranchi for treatment of multiple ailments.

Incidentally, the fodder scam conviction which led to the imprisonment of Prasad and rendered him disqualified from contesting polls, was also investigated by the CBI.

According to party sources, the RJD supremo's younger son and political heir Tejashwi Yadav has spoken to Banerjee over phone and he might visit Kolkata on Monday in a show of solidarity.

"State governments will be compelled to take such steps in view of political decisions taken by the CBI in the last few months under pressure from the BJP. The CBI may have to face the wrath of the public if it continues to act as a coalition partner of the BJP. Nobody is mightier than the public in a democracy," Tejashwi Yadav tweeted.

NCP president Sharad Pawar wrote on the micro-blogging site," #Assualtondemocracy - blatant misuse of CBI in #WestBengal to intimidate the opposition and settle political scores."

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also threw his weight behind Banerjee, saying the use of the agency as a political tool has crossed all limits.

"Just spoke to @MamataOfficial didi to convey the support of @JKNC_ as she sits in dharna. The use of the CBI as a political tool has crossed all limits as has the Modi government's  misuse of institutions. A former CM having such little regard for India's federalism is shocking," Omar tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also expressed solidarity with Banerjee, saying history stands testament to how JK has faced the wrath of central agencies.

She said, "Its disheartening to see how institutions are being hijacked only to discredit political opponents. Doesn't bode well for the Centre-State relationship."

In a dramatic showdown with the Modi government, a furious Banerjee, wrapped in a brown woollen shawl, began a sit-in right in front of the Metro Cinema to protest "insults" she faced at the hands of the prime minister and Shah, hours after a CBI team that had gone to question Kumar was detained in a rare face-off between the police establishments of the Centre and the state.

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Updated Date: Feb 04, 2019 16:33:14 IST

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