Constitutional anarchy in West Bengal: Centre to Supreme Court on row over Abhishek Banerjee’s wife

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New Delhi | Published: March 29, 2019 4:47:34 PM

It is being reported that customs officials also filed a complaint at the Airport police station followed by a counter FIR by Ruchira against the customs officials accusing them in turn of intimidation.

Mamata bannerjee, Mamata nephew, Abhishek Banerjee, BJP, TMC, Solicitor general, Supreme Court, tushar mehta, west bengal, rujira narula, mukulroy(Image source: PTI)

West Bengal is constitutional anarchy, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday told the Supreme Court alleging how police personnel barged their way into Kolkata’s Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport and intimidated customs officials who checked the bags of the wife of TMC MP and Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek Banerjee.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta claimed that the central agencies had remained in a never-ending state of fear and were being harassed for performing their duties.

“There is a constitutional anarchy in West Bengal if I may say it succinctly,” Mehta asserted, referring to an incident earlier this month when the Customs department caught the TMC MP’s wife allegedly with 2 kg of gold. Speaking of the incident, Mehta said that he wanted the incident to be brought to the notice of the top court in India to show how the rule of the law is completely destroyed West Bengal.

“This lady was stopped at the Kolkata airport by the custom officials to check her luggage. She also happens to be the wife of a sitting MP of the ruling party. Suddenly local police start coming in and asking the custom officials to stop from their duties,” Mehta was quoted as saying by News18.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, however, rapped the Solicitor General and asked him to follow due procedure and file an application instead. “What are we supposed to do? You have to file an application. We cannot take it like this,” Chief Justice Gogoi told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

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In his short statement quoted by The Hindu, Mehta said the customs officials had reportedly stopped Ruchira Banerjee and checked her luggage at the airport earlier this month.

“This lady was stopped at the Kolkata airport by the custom officials for checking her luggage. She is also the wife of a sitting MP of the ruling party (TMC). Suddenly, the local police start coming in and asking the custom officials to stop their duties,” said Mehta in his submission.

He further said that the cops kept coming in and the custom officials were intimidated with an FIR if they did not comply and let the woman go without a check.

“Finally she was escorted out by the local police without custom officials’ approval,” Mehta said.

Pointing out that the CBI has previously alleged contempt against the state chief secretary and DGP before the apex court, Mehta said that the local authorities were obstructing their probe into Saradha chit fund scam and intimidating CBI personnel.

The Mamata government and the Centre were locked in a bitter fight after sleuths of the CBI swooped down on former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for questioning in the Saradha chit fund scam.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented the state government, rebutted these accusations and asserted that the Centre was trying to make headlines for the press. However, the court scolded Mehta and asked him to file an appropriate application if the Centre wanted a specific directive in this regard instead of an oral submission. The top court is slated to take up the case of contempt on 8th of April.

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Mehta was referring to the row over Ruchira, who is the wife of West Bengal Chief Minister’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee, who was allegedly intercepted with undeclared gold amounting to 2 kg by Customs officials at Kolkata’s International Airport the previous week. She allegedly called and a contingent of Kolkata Police arrived and shepherdered her out of the airport.

The police officials reportedly also threatened Customs officials that they should “release her immediately or face problems”.

It is being reported that customs officials also filed a complaint at the Airport police station followed by a counter FIR by Ruchira against the customs officials accusing them in turn of intimidation.

On Monday, Abhishek Banerjee refuted all allegations against his wife Ruchira after she was said to have been caught at the Kolkata airport for carrying gold in her luggage over the permissible limit.

Abhishek said that the BJP leaders are spreading fake news about his family to gain political mileage, a report in The Indian Express said.

Abhishek Banerjee who is the national president of TMC’ youth wing, is an outgoing TMC MP from Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha seat. He is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and considered her political heir.

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