New tussle between Mamata and Centre brewing over Guv's complaint against top cops

The Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to act on the complaint of the governor and may initiate disciplinary proceedings against the senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers.
Last Updated : 07 July 2024, 20:19 IST

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Kolkata: A new tussle seems to be brewing between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal and the Centre with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs weighing options to act on the complaint of the state’s governor, C V Ananda Bose, against two senior officers of Kolkata Police.

The governor, who had several run-ins with the Trinamool Congress government in the state, recently sent a report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, alleging that Kolkata Police Commissioner Vinit Goyal and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Indira Mukherjee were functioning in a manner “completely unbecoming of a public servant”.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is likely to act on the complaint of the governor and may initiate disciplinary proceedings against the senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officers.

The ruling TMC sources in Kolkata, however, said that any action by the Centre against the officers without consultation with the state government and in violation of the principle of cooperative federalism would be “opposed tooth and nail”.

Banerjee had in February 2019 staged a “Save The Constitution” demonstration for three days protesting against a move by the Central Bureau of Investigation to question then Police Commissioner of Kolkata, Rajeev Kumar, in connection with chit fund scams in West Bengal.

Her government also had a confrontation with the Centre in May-June 2021 over the Union Government’s move to recall the chief secretary of the state, Alapan Bandopadhyay, just before his tenure would have ended – apparently because he had left with the chief minister instead of sitting through a meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired at the Kalaikunda Air Force Station in the state to assess damages caused by flood.

Bose alleged that Goyal and Mukherjee had formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) with unusual speed after a woman – a contractual employee of the Raj Bhavan – had on May 2 accused him of molesting her.

The governor had dismissed the allegation as concocted and aimed at maligning him.  

Article 361 (2) and (3) of the Constitution give constitutional immunity to the President of India and the governor of any state from any criminal proceeding being instituted or continued against them.

The Kolkata Police had stated that it had launched a probe after receiving the complaint from the woman, but its inquiry had not been targeted at any individual. It had also launched an investigation against the allegation of the woman that some officials had tried to dissuade her from lodging any complaint against the governor.

The investigations by the Kolkata Police had been stayed by the Calcutta High Court.

The woman recently moved the Supreme Court challenging the immunity claimed by the governor against criminal proceedings against him.

The governor meanwhile moved the High Court with a defamation suit against the chief minister for her comment on the repercussions of the allegation against him.

Bose in his complaint to the Centre also alleged that the Kolkata Police had prevented the victims of the violent attacks, which had taken place across West Bengal after the Lok Sabha elections, from meeting him at the Raj Bhavan. The delegation of the victims had been led by BJP heavyweight and the Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, but had been prevented from entering the Raj Bhavan by the police.

He alleged that Kolkata Police had introduced a new practice of issuing identity cards to Raj Bhavan staff and frisking them upon entry and exit without his consent and despite his subsequent objections. He also alleged that his directive to Kolkata Police for the withdrawal of police personnel from Raj Bhavan had not been acted upon.

Bose recently also had a confrontation with the Legislative Assembly of the state. After a month-long impasse, the governor had authorised the deputy speaker, Ashish Banerjee, to administer the oath to newly elected TMC MLAs. But Ashish declined and Speaker Biman Banerjee administered the oath to them last Friday. The governor reacted by writing to President Droupadi Murmu, alleging "constitutional impropriety".

Published 07 July 2024, 20:19 IST

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