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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Mamata Banerjee picks up Tagore’s Nobel medal theft to lash out at CBI

Mamata Banerjee urged the CBI to hand over the papers related to their investigation in the 15-year-old case of the Nobel medallion theft

india Updated: Feb 05, 2019 17:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee gestures at Dharna Manch during 'Save the Constitution' dharna in Kolkata on February 5.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee gestures at Dharna Manch during 'Save the Constitution' dharna in Kolkata on February 5.(ANI Photo)
         

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday picked up the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medallion to pick on the CBI, amid a showdown with the Centre over the agency’s attempts to question Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund case.

Mamata Banerjee is sitting on a dharna against the CBI’s attempts to question Rajeev Kumar in Esplanade in the heart of Kolkata and, in her own words, “the atrocities of the Modi government”.

Also read: With overnight protest, Mamata Banerjee joins list of CMs who stood against Centre

The chief minister has addressed reporters and people assembled at the spot several times since she started her “satyagraha” to “save the Constitution” on Sunday. Follow live updates here

Also read: CBI can probe Kolkata top cop but no arrest, orders SC; Mamata says victory

On Tuesday, Mamata Banerjee urged the federal agency to hand over the papers related to their investigation in the 15-year-old case of the Nobel medallion theft. About 50 other items, including the wedding sari of Tagore’s wife, were also stolen from a ground floor museum in Santiniketan in 2004.

After the medallion, the first to be won by any Asian, was stolen former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee asked the CBI to investigate the theft. But the agency drew a blank after two rounds of investigation.

After Mamata Banerjee assumed power in May 2011, the state government wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation asking it to hand over their documents and findings so that they could pursue the case, which is still a sensitive subject among many in Bengal.

“We asked them to hand over the papers so many times. But they refused to do so. Why don’t you find the Nobel of Tagore?” Mamata Banerjee remarked on Tuesday afternoon at the site of the sit-in protest in Kolkata.

In June 2017, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) wrote to the West Bengal home department that the agency refused to hand over the case.

“This proves that the Union government is not serious about recovering the stolen medallion,” state education minister and Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee had alleged in 2017.

The state home department wrote a letter to DoPT for the first time in December 2015, requesting custody of the CBI documents and seeking a charge of the investigation. With no reply from the DoPT, the government shot off another letter in August 2016.

Mamata Banerjee also asked the CBI about the outcome of their investigation in the police firing in Nandigram on March 14, 2007, that killed 14 villagers.

“What happened to your investigation in the Nandigram killings? Also what happened to the probe on the murder of Tapasi Malik in Singur?” she asked.

Mamata Banerjee was referring to the 16-year-old Malik, whose charred body was found in a field in Singur in 2007.

The chief minister, then an opposition leader who took on the Left Front government against the land acquisition for the Nano car plant, had alleged that she was raped and murdered by the ruling party’s supporters since she was against the acquisition.

Also read: Nobody is the big boss of this country: Mamata welcomes SC order on Kolkata top cop