Kolkata/New Delhi: Upping the ante on what it claims was a botched sting operation by police on one of its senior leaders in Bengal, the BJP on Tuesday moved the Election Commission demanding the immediate removal of Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar and sought a CBI probe alleging Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s hand in the “conspiracy”.
In Kolkata, BJP chief Amit Shah lashed out at the ruling Trinamool Congress, saying it was a desperate move by the state’s ruling party to counter the fallout of the Narada sting operation, in which some Trinamool leaders were allegedly caught on camera taking bribes.
The party knocked on the EC’s doors both in Kolkata and Delhi, prompting the poll panel to seek a report from the state administration on the happenings.
Ridiculing the Banerjee government over its “attempt to conduct a sting operation on BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha”, Shah said: “I have never heard of a state government sending policemen to conduct a sting. “Two Special Branch personnel of Kolkata Police tried to carry out a sting operation. They were caught.
A drama was enacted, and they were suspended and detained,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief said at the Press Club. He accused the city police commissioner of direct involvement in the “failed attempt to carry out a sting”.
“Why are you acting against small fry when the police commissioner has a direct role in this? “I demand the Election Commission immediately remove all police officers seen in the Narada sting operation as well those involved in this botched sting to ensure free and fair elections,” he said.
Attacking Banerjee, Shah said: “I also want to tell Mamata di that by employing such tactics, you cannot defame the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Gold is gold, brass is brass. “Since you (Trinamool) yourselves have been caught, you tried to frame us, but in the end, you stood exposed again.”
Sinha on Monday alleged that two Kolkata Police Special Branch officers, with a motive to conduct a sting, offered him a “fat amount” to “cooperate with them” in smuggling cattle to Bangladesh. The duo was subsequently suspended after Sinha filed a police complaint. On Tuesday, the two Special Branch men — assistant sub-inspector Subhasish Roychowdhury and constable Aminur Rahman — were summoned to the office of the deputy commissioner (central), and interrogated for an hour.
In the national capital, a high-profile six member BJP delegation that included Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Nirmala Sitharaman and Chandan Mitra submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, calling the episode “a government sponsored conspiracy towards a failed sting operation to discredit the BJP”.
The memorandum alleged that Rajeev Kumar was an “agent of the ruling Trinamool,” who conducted “illegal surveillance and interception on leaders, bureaucrats, journalists, activists under the directions of the chief minister”.
“Free and fair poll is not possible in Kolkata if Rajeev Kumar remains as city police chief,” it said.
Sinha himself went to the Election Commission’s office in Kolkata and alleged that police were trying to “cover up the issue” by announcing a mere departmental probe against the accused policemen. “We demand a CBI probe. It was a conspiracy.
Had it not been a conspiracy, they would have been arrested,” he told the media at the EC office. Sinha said Rajeev Kumar acted as per the chief minister’s instructions. “We have learnt from the sources that Kolkata police
commissioner had drawn up the entire plan of the sting operation following the instruction from chief minister.” Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar later said a detailed report has been sought from the state home secretary within a day.
Before Sinha’s representation, the EC wrote to the state’s home department on Tuesday morning asking for a report on the same issue.