Security beefed up at residence of Mamata’s nephew after CBI targets Rajeev Kumar
Security has been beefed up at the residence of Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata Banerjee, in Kolkata amid a standoff between the West Bengal government and the Centre over the CBI’s attempt to question the Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with a chit fund scam probe.
People living around the famous Durga temple on Harish Mukherjee Road in south Kolkata, not far from the chief minister’s Kalighat residence, said while they were glued to news channels on February 3 when the CBI had reached Kumar’s residence to question him, a huge contingent of police arrived at ‘Shantiniketan,’ residence of Abhishek, who is also a Lok Sabha MP and president of the Trinamool youth wing.
“At least six officers are always stationed outside the building. They are accompanied by constables and members of the quick response team (QRT),” an officer, who did not want to be named, said.
“Also, there are two police outposts in front of the building within 30 feet of each other. A QRT armoured vehicle is deployed round the clock,” he added.
A local businessman, who did not wish to be identified, said the building has been literally sealed from outside. “We have never seen so many cops, cars and steel barricades. The policemen were clearly anticipating trouble,” he added.
While all Trinamool ministers and district leaders were seen beside Mamata Banerjee during the dharna she staged following the CBI’s failed attempt, Abhishek, who is seen by many as her political heir, was conspicuous by his absence.
Abhishek Banerjee was not available for comment and no Trinamool leader or state official was willing to speak on record.
“It is well known that the CBI will try to target Abhishek to put pressure on our party. Though his name never came up in the Saradha scam, CBI mentioned him extensively in its FIR in the Narada sting operation probe. This was done at the instruction of BJP,” a senior Trinamool leader said on condition of anonymity.
HT accessed the 12-page FIR and found that it mentions Abhishek as many as six times as “Abhishek”, “Abhishek Banerjee” and “Abhishek Bandopadhyay”, although none mention him as a suspect or even as an MP.
Trinamool leaders fear that the CBI probe may eventually affect not just the 12 MPs, MLAs and ministers named in the document filed in March 2017, but also the party.
On page 8, for example, the charges against former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee says:
1) “He (Chatterjee) was shown to have received Rs 4 lakh in cash from the sting operator, who promised to pay a further amount of Rs 1 lakh to him the next day (April 17, 2014).
2) “He was also shown to have assured the sting operator that he would arrange a meeting for him with Abhishek Bandopadhyay, at least once, after the election.”
Chatterjee recently resigned as minister and Kolkata mayor and has distanced himself from the Trinamool. There are even rumours that he may switch camps.