PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India
Feb 04, 2019, 06.38 PM
The CBI-Kolkata Police row Monday washed out proceedings in both houses of Parliament, even as Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed the developments in West Bengal as "unprecedented" and warned that the Centre has powers to take action.
After repeated adjournments, both the houses were adjourned for the day.
In the Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress members were joined in their protest by members of the Congress, BJD, NCP, SP and RJD who spoke out against the Centre over developments in West Bengal, with many of them alleging that the Narendra Modi government was misusing the CBI.
A CBI team, which went to Kumar's residence in the city's Loudon Street area, was denied permission, bundled into police jeeps and whisked to a police station on Sunday.
Amid noisy protests by Trinamool Congress members, Singh told the Lok Sabha that it was "unprecedented" that the CBI was stopped from lawfully doing its duty when it wanted to question Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar regarding chit fund scams on Sunday.
In the first reaction from the Centre on the incident, the Home Minister said the CBI team wanted to question Kumar as he was "not cooperating".
Making a statement in Lok Sabha on the prevailing situation in Kolkata, Singh described the action against the CBI probe team as "unprecedented" and a threat to the federal system of the country.
"There may be a constitutional breakdown in West Bengal... under the Constitution, the central government has been vested with the power to maintain normalcy in any part of the country," he said.
"Whatever happened on Sunday, it indicates a constitutional breakdown," Singh said amid din in the House.
He also said that a report has been sought from the Governor.
The home minister hoped that the West Bengal government, as well as other state governments, provide a conducive atmosphere for law enforcement agencies to carry out their duties.
Earlier, opposition parties in Lok Sabha attacked the government over the alleged misuse of central agencies against political rivals, saying it was against democratic norms.
Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy said there is a crisis in West Bengal and that the Centre was "misusing" the CBI to politically capture the state.
While alleging that the Centre was "constantly using the CBI to throttle the Opposition", Roy said the party is strongly protesting with all forces at its command.
BJD leader B Mahtab said the incident smacks of impropriety and also questions the integrity of the CBI.
"We are not a banana republic...," he said, adding the CBI is becoming a "political stooge and political weapon" in the hands of the Centre.
Stressing that the CBI should be a professional organisation, Mahtab charged that there have been attempts in Odisha by the probe agency to defame the BJD.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge charged that the government was using the CBI as a weapon to finish the Opposition and put in place an autocratic regime.
Referring to alleged misuse of the CBI, Kharge said such things have happened not only in West Bengal but also in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Neither the people nor any party would bow down before such actions, he added.
NCP leader Supriya Sule said her party is condemning the CBI for allegedly using its muscle power against a woman chief minister.
Dharmendra Yadav (SP) and Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) also spoke against the Centre.
CPI-M member Badaruddoza Khan said both the Trinamool Congress and the Centre were at fault, adding the CBI did not take action during the last four years.
Saumitra Khan, who won on a Trinamool Congress ticket and had recently joined the BJP, also spoke.
Rajya Sabha witnessed similar scenes with proceedings washed out amid ruckus by Trinamool Congress members over the issue of alleged misuse of the CBI by the Centre.
As soon as the House assembled, slogan shouting by TMC members on the issue resulted in adjournment of the House till 2 PM.
The same situation prevailed when the House resumed in the afternoon.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien had moved a notice for discussion on the issue. But he was told by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu that he can raise this issue during Zero Hour as also during the motion of thanks to the President's address.
In the meanwhile, TMC and SP members trooped into the well and started raising slogans.
The chairman said, "You don't want discussion. You don't want to speak in reply to the motion of thanks (to President's address)".
When TMC members did not show any signs of relenting, Naidu adjourned the House for the day.
In Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar made a plea to agitating members to go back to their seats, stating it was time for motion of thanks on the President's address.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said as the CBI matter is already in the Supreme Court, the court should be allowed to take a call.
The Speaker allowed Trinamool Congress leader Saugata Roy to speak about the incident in Kolkata involving the CBI and the Kolkata Police.
BJD leader B Mahtab, Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and those from the Left, SP, NCP and RJD also spoke against the Centre during the Zero Hour.
When Home Minister Rajnath Singh started to speak on the issue, Trinamool Congress members trooped into the Well and began shouting slogans. Some of them were also seen clapping.
Mahajan continued with the Zero Hour for less than ten minutes and as the protests continued, the proceedings were adjourned till 2 PM.
Several political leaders, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and RJD national president Lalu Prasad have come out in support of Banerjee.
Gandhi had called up Banerjee and extended support to her, saying the entire opposition is together and will defeat "fascist" forces.
In the Lok Sabha, Trinamool Congress members were joined in their protest by members of the Congress, BJD, NCP, SP and RJD who spoke out against the Centre over developments in West Bengal.