Strongly objecting to the Centre’s decision to deploy CRPF personnel for security of I-T officials while conducting search operations without informing the state government, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stating the move to be “blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and against all principles of cooperative federalism”.
This is the second time in the past 23 days when the Centre deployed armed forces including jawans of the Indian Army in Bengal “without any communication” with the state government. Elaborating that the state government came to know about the deployment of the CRPF jawans from a section of the media on Friday morning, Banerjee wrote: “The respective legislative and executive jurisdictions of the state governments and the Central government are clearly delineated in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India and “Public Order” and “police” are within the domain of “List II-State List”. The deployment of any Central Police force of the Union to any state can be done at the request of the state government”.
Mentioning that the “state government and its police forces will provide necessary help and protection, if so requested by any Central government agency for any legitimate action on their part”, the Chief Minister demanded that the “decision” of deploying CRPF in Bengal “must be immediately revoked”. She mentioned in the letter that “the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to make available 15 personnel of the CRPF for apparently providing “security” to I-T officials and staff deputed in Bengal. No communication in this regard has been received by the state government”.
Even the top brass of the state government, the state Home department and the state police had no information about the deployment of CRPF jawans till late night. Sources said the plan was to conduct I-T raids taking help of CRPF jawans keeping the state government in the dark as it was done in Tamil Nadu as well. Giving a reply to the request of the I-T department, the Ministry of Home Affairs mentioned in a letter dated December 20 that: “It has been decided that CRPF will make available 15 personnel to the I-T department, Kolkata, for providing security of officers and staff deputed for search and seizure operations to be carried out… The cost of deployment charges in this regard shall be borne by Director General of Income Tax (investigation), Ministry of Finance, and Bill shall be raised against them, accordingly”.
It may be recalled that on December 1, the CM had to spend the night at Nabanna after Army was deployed at different toll plazas including the one at Vidyasagar Setu, which is situated just at a stone’s throw distance from there.