CBI functioning row: The state governments ruled by opposition parties seemed to be at loggerheads with the Narendra Modi-led Centre over the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday criticized the Andra Pradesh and West Bengal governments, which have withdrawn their “general consent” to the CBI to conduct raids and investigations in the state. The Union Minister said only those, in an apparent reference to Chandrababu Naidu and Mamata Banerjee, who have a lot to hide, have taken the step of not letting CBI come to their state. He further made it clear that there is no sovereignty of any state in the matter of corruption.

The Union Minister made this remark on the sidelines of manifesto releasing event for upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls. The CBI, which was established under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, will now need prior consent of the respective state government to conduct investigation and raids in these states.

Earlier in the day, Raveen Thukral, the media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, said that the Punjab government was not mulling to withdraw the general consent to CBI by the state, adding that any decision in this regard will be taken by the party’s central leadership for all the Congress-ruled states.

 Both Mamata Banerjee and Naidu are trying to form an anti-BJP front of Opposition parties to fight the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Recently, Naidu had met various Opposition leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Chandrababu’s party Telugu Desam Party, a former National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally, had pulled out of the BJP-led alliance over the special state status to Andhra Pradesh. He had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not fulfilling promises made by him during 2014 Lok Sabha polls.