Monday, June 20th, 2016

Narada Sting: Mamata Banerjee manoeuvres to save party men, but will she be able to do it?

NK Bhoopesh | June 20, 2016 6:48 pm Print
Ordering a parallel probe in the Narada sting exposes Mamata's interest to save her colleagues. But with two other inquiries, her effort may not succeed this time

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee seems to have started from where she left in her first term in office. After she won the assembly elections with record majority, by almost decimating the combined CPI(M)- Congress opposition, she has started business as usual. During the last term it was Sarada scam that rattled the TMC government. It has proved that this belligerent rebellious leader would go to any extent when it comes to protecting her erring colleagues.

Though she was able to win the assembly elections in 2016, after the NaradaNews sting exposed her colleagues receiving bribes, Mamata as a shrewd politician knows that it can haunt her again. Electoral victory wont whitewash every misdeeds committed by the political leaders. There are so many examples for this in history. Look at the fall out of Gujarat riot 2002. BJP won all the elections after that. But one  (at least one) of the minister Maya Kodnani was sent to jail after judicial process for instigating riot in Naroda Patya.

Narada sting operation exposing several including TMC ministers accepting bribes has cast aspersions on the integrity of Mamata Banerjee her self. During the campaign at one point she was forced to admit that had she been aware of the corruption of her colleagues, she would not have given tickets to them. This was after she cried conspiracy behind the sting operation.

But that expression of sincerity was just a trick to fool the electorate, or that is what one wants to understand by her decision to order an inquiry into the Narada expose.

As soon as NaradaNews broke the story, the Lok Sabha constituted an ethics committee to probe and find out the authenticity of the expose. Along with it Kolkatta High Court is also inquiring into  the matter. So any government which is sincere to bring out the truth would have cooperated with these inquiries. But Mamata seems to have another plan.

Without showing any modicum of decency or respect for legality she has constituted another police investigation in to the Narada expose. That too by her favourite police officer Rajeev Kumar, the Kolkata police commissioner, who was unceremoniously removed by the election commission during the last election. One of the first decision taken by the Mamata government was to reinstate him. Now she has entrusted him with Narada inquiry, which many think is an ill advised move. All major political parties in the state from CPI(M) to Congress cried foul over this.

It may be recalled that it was the same police officer Rajiv Kumar who led the SIT of  the Sarada Scam. Agencies like Enforcement Directorate probing the Sarada scam has complained against Rajiv Kumar for not giving required documents and accused him of stalling the investigation. Two years ago Mamata government facilitated him with police medal for exemplary service!

Mamata Banerjee’s concern for probity in public life was exposed when she gave ministerial berths to the people who were shown as receiving bribes in the Narada sting. Any other politician would have waited for the inquiry of Lok Sabha ethics committtee and HC inquiry before inducting these tainted people into the ministry. Mamata had no qualms in doing so. Suvendu Adhikari, Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee and Sovon Chatterjee, all exposed by Narada have been given ministerial berths Now she is making mockery of all justice systems by appointing a parallel investigation that too by her most favourite police officer.

But is she afraid of the other two investigations? Perhaps yes. But how could she use  her ‘policemen’s report to counter the other two reports? Before too late she might know everything cant be managed by power alone. Or people’s faith can’t be taken for granted.