Baseless allegations land Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in soup
New Delhi, Dec 2: After furiously fighting against the Centre’ move on demonetisation, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has come up with new set of allegations against the army presence in the state calling it as an ‘army coup’.
However, she is finding herself in a soup as the army personnel and the state police have furnished documents and proofs. The fury which she raised in the parliament and cheap drama of locking herself at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ is proving as senseless and baseless.
The CM earlier raised that the state administration was not informed about the whole process. However when the state police came up with a letter saying that the department was informed, she alleged that it was ‘illegal’.
The Army, in a statement said that the deployment in West Bengal was part of its routine exercise across the country. Major General Sunil Yadav, GOC Bengal Area, said the Army formations in the Eastern command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises. He also said the exercise involves collection of data in all the North Eastern states, including Assam, Arunachal, West Bengal, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim on the availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with the local police authorities.
Speaking to mediapersons, he said a joint inspection was carried out by the Army and the Kolkata Police at the site of toll plaza on November 27. “This is an exercise carried out for our operational purposes,” he said.
However, the officials also termed allegations of the army collecting money at toll plazas as ‘baseless’. The CM also threatened that the state government will fight legally if the force is not withdrawn from the state. “The ongoing exercise should be called off from the state before midnight today,” said Mamata.
Meanwhile, a letter from her own state police proves that the exercise had been intimated. And the letter contradicted her claims of deploying the army without informing the state government.
Kolkata’s Additional Commissioner of Police Supratim Sarkar wrote to Colonel Surinder Mahani, Station Cell, Administrative Commandment, Head Quarters Bengal Area, Kolkata, a letter dated November 26.
It acknowledged the Army’s memo dated November 24 “in connection with the intimation of the Impressments Exercise for Civil Hired Transport on and from November 28 to November 30 at Vidyasagar Setu Toll Plaza”. However, the letter expressed reservations to the venue of the routine exercise.
The police’s letter said, “Apropos your communication referred to hereinabove, this is to inform you that the proposed place of exercise is a busy and important corridor having huge volume of vehicular traffic connecting the city with other districts and states as also the gateway to Nabana, the state government’s secretariat, which is a high security zone.
Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, today said that the TMC leader and West Bengal CM Mamata is politicising the matter. “It is saddening that a routine exercise has been made a controversy now. It is wrong to politicise it. This is politics in frustration rather than correct aspect being pointed out,” Parikkar said.