Two stings, one of which was foiled, have come to dominate Bengal polls. On Tuesday, BJP president Amit Shah came down heavily on the Mamata Banerjee government for trying to frame his party in a foiled sting operation using the state police. He dared the chief minister to order a CBI probe in to another scandal, the Narada tales, saying the matter would then be solved in less than 36 hours.
The BJP president also alleged that Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar was the man behind the foiled sting operation on his party’s national secretary Rahul Sinha. In a related development, the BJP petitioned the Election Commission (EC) on the sting operation that was attempted on the Rahul Sinha. The EC in Delhi is believed to have sought a report on the matter from its state unit.
“Let the chief minister seek a CBI probe. Everything will come out in black and white within 36 hours (doodh ka doodh, pani ka pani ho jaiga),” said Shah. He was speaking to the media at the Kolkata Press Club.
Shah’s challenge to the Trinamool chief: throw all tainted leaders — 13 of them who were shown on the Narada tapes accepting hard cash in return for favouring a fictitious company — out of the party. “Mamata Banerjee should immediately throw the tainted leaders out of her party if she is truthful. But to her being in power is more important than curbing corruption,” Shah said.
Shah even took a dig at the CPI(M)-Congress alliance, stating that in the Rajya Sabha they should have sent the issue to the ethics committee. “We have the strength in the Lok sabha. The Narada issue is sent to ethics committee. But what are the communists and Congress doing in the Rajya Sabha, where they have the strength,” Shah added.
“The Kolkata Police commissioner had a direct role in the attempted sting on the party’s national secretary. We will approach the Election Commission to keep him and other officers who were involved with the exercise as well as the Trinamool leaders shown in Narada sting out of the poll process,” Shah remarked.
“We have seen investigative journalism. But in Bengal for the first time we have seen investigative police trying to commit a sting,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Sinha met EC officials and demanded immediate suspension of Kolkata police commissioner and a CBI probe. Following this, EC sought and received a report on the incident from the Jorasanko police station. A BJP delegation also met with EC officials in Delhi. Shah’s comment came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at Trinamool over the Narada sting operation at an election rally at Kharagpore. “Their situation is so bad that they have to use policemen to try a sting operation on the BJP. But it does not matter to us. Gold is gold and brass is brass,” Shah said referring to the failure of the policemen to induce his party leader to accept money.
Soon after Shah’s press conference, the CPI(M) and the Congress leadership hit back at the BJP. “The sting against Rahul Sinha is a drama enacted by Mamata Banerjee and the BJP. This is to take public glare away from Sarada and Narada scams,” said CPI(M) leader Surya Kant Mishra.