"Kleptocrat's Club": Arun Jaitley As Opposition Backs Mamata Banerjee

 

NEW DELHI: Union Minister Arun Jaitley hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister who is on a sit-in, protesting against the central government. Responding sharply to Ms Banerjee's massive protest and the outpour of support from other opposition parties, Mr. Jaitley, in a blog, attacked the opposition, calling it "a Kleptocrat's Club".

"Mamata Banerjee's disproportionate over-reaction to the CBI wanting to interrogate the Kolkata Police Chief has flagged several issues for a public discourse. The most important being that a Kleptocrat's Club now aspires to capture the reigns of India," Mr Jaitley wrote. Opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi, N Chandrababu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal and Akhilesh Yadav pledged their support to the Trinamool Congress chief. Tejashwi Yadav and the DMK's Kanimozhi met Ms Banerjee at the protest site in Kolkata on Monday.

Mr. Jaitley, who is in New York for treatment, said Mamata Banerjee is staging the dharna to "project herself as the nucleus of India's opposition." 

Mamata Banerjee began her protest against the centre on Sunday evening after a showdown between Kolkata Police and officials of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over investigations into two chit fund scams in Bengal. A CBI team that wanted to question Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar was taken to a police station and detained for hours before they were released.

Ms Banerjee declared her agitation to "save the constitution" and said she was ready to face the consequences. She accused the centre of sending CBI officers after "one of the best officers in the world".

Arun Jaitley said that the chit fund scams were unearthed in 2012-13 and its investigations were handed over to the CBI by the Supreme Court.

"If a Police Officer is also required to be interrogated, how does it become a 'super emergency', "assault on Federalism", or 'destruction of Institutions'?" he said.

The centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that Rajeev Kumar is a "potential accused" in the investigation into Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams and asked the court to order him to surrender all evidence, fearing that he may try to destroy electronic evidence.

The Supreme Court will take up the petition today.

Mr Jaitley justified the CBI's action, saying the constitutional framework clearly defines the sharing of functions between the centre and the state and that it does not permit an overlap.