Kolkata: Two men of Kolkata Police’s Special Branch were suspended after BJP leader Rahul Sinha on Monday accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of using police to carry out a failed sting operation on him and demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
Sinha said the two had called on him at the party state headquarters and offered him a “fat amount” to “cooperate with them” in smuggling cattle to Bangladesh.
“I held them by the collar, slapped them and pushed them out of the office. Our partymen then dragged them to the police guards posted near our office,” Sinha said at a hurriedly-called media conference here.
He claimed that the two Special Branch personnel — assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Subhasish Roychowdhury and constable Aminur Rahman — were later taken into custody by Jorasanko police station officers.
The BJP has lodged a police complaint and also moved the Election Commission demanding proper action.
Kolkata Police Deputy Commissioner (headquarters) Suprotim Sarkar said both Roychowdhury and Rahman have been placed under suspension pending an inquiry, and the deputy commissioner (central) was looking into the matter.
Sinha said “it is clear Mamata Banerjee, who holds the police portfolio, tried to carry out a sting operation to frame the BJP and counter the fall out of the Narada sting video”.
Video footage of a purported sting operation released by a portal Narada News showed a number of Trinamool Congress leaders including former union ministers and incumbent state ministers, MPs and MLAs allegedly taking bundles of cash.
On the action against the two Special Branch officials, Sinha said: “I don’t know what will happen next. These two are only sacrificial goats. A probe has to find out who are the real culprits.
“So I feel the chief minister should ask the CBI to carry out the inquiry. Who had sent them, why they had come, on all these issues CBI should conduct an impartial probe.”
Giving details, Sinha said ASI Roychowdhury had visited his residence in the city on Sunday and tried to meet him.
“I was then in Kharagpur. He told the security guards that he was a policeman. But when they connected him over phone to my personal assistant, he claimed he was a ‘common man’ and wanted to meet me for a ‘personal reason’.
“They were given an appointment at 11.30 a.m. today (Monday) at the party office,” he said.
“Today, when they came to the office, they said they wanted to speak to me over organisational matters. When I called them in, they said they wanted to send some commodity from India to Bangladesh.”
After Sinha asked them to name the commodity, Roychowdhury said they were into cow smuggling and promised him a huge amount of money in exchange for his ‘cooperation’.
After a furious Sinha drove them out and the duo was handed him over to police, the Special Branch men revealed their identity to their colleagues.
“The Jorasanko officer in-charge tried to convince me it was not a non-bailable offence, but I did not agree and told him cow-smuggling was an anti-national act.”
Sinha said BJP workers and leaders cannot be sold for even Rs.25 crore.
“Mamata Banerjee still does not know the BJP. Her men can be sold for Rs.5 lakh. But not those of the BJP,” he said.
“It is an attempt to slander the BJP ahead of the elections. We condemn this conspiracy. We will take this to the people.”
Additional chief electoral officer Dibyendu Sarkar said they have received a complaint from the BJP over the incident.
Describing Sinha’s allegations as a serious matter, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought a probe.
Renowned painter Samir Aich demanded immediate resignation of Mamata Banerjee, calling it a “shameful chapter in Bengal’s political history”.