Mamata supports Chandrababu’s move to bar CBI in Andhra; says her govt mulling same
Kolkata, Nov 16: The anti-BJP bonding got stronger on Friday, November 16, as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threw weight behind her Andhra Pradesh counterpart Chandrababu Naidu saying the latter's decision to bar the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from entering his state was apt. She added that even her government is considering to take a similar step against the central investigative agency.
The Andhra Pradesh government has issued a notification saying central sleuths can enter the state only after it gives them the approval. Banerjee also took a dig at the CBI after the central investigative agency's team probing Sardha chit fund case received 10 paintings made by her from businessman Shibaji Panja a couple of weeks ago. The agency wanted to assess the paintings' values and wanted to verify the source of the buyers' funds. Speaking at the general council meeting of her party Trinamool Congress, the chief minister accused the BJP of making bodies like the CBI a political tool and said they would target the opponents even if they did things honestly.
The Andhra Pradesh government has taken the decision to bar the CBI because it considers the agency's credibility has been badly dented by the recent conflict between two of its top officials Alok Verma and Rakesh Asthana. Besides barring the central agency, the Naidu government has increased the powers of the state's anti-coruption bureau which have been authorised even to search offices of the central government.
Naidu's Telugu Desam Party was a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance till early this year when it pulled out saying the BJP was not conceding to its demand for a special status for Andhra Pradesh. The target was clearly to fetch mileage in the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state in 2019 (will be held around the same time). Naidu has also been playing a proactive role to put in place a grand alliance against the BJP. His latest move on the CBI is certainly another well-calculated one towards cementing the bonding in the Opposition's camp.