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Bengal parties accuse Centre of using CBI as 'political tool'

Bengal parties accuse Centre of using CBI as political tool

Kolkata: Amid the bickering at the top in the CBI that saw the agency arrest one of its senior officials, anti-BJP parties in West Bengal on Monday accused the Modi government of reducing the agency into a "political tool".

The internal war within the CBI took a new turn on Monday with the agency arresting its Deputy Superintendent of Police Devender Kumar following bribery allegations against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, the number 2 who is at war with Director Alok Verma.

"If such is the situation in the country's top most independent investigating authority, then who will the common people rely on? If the government attempts to take control of an independent agency, such a situation is bound to arise," West Bengal Congress President Somen Mitra said.

The state's ruling Trinamool Congress, whose leaders were previously interrogated and arrested by the agency in several cases including the Saradha ponzi scam, termed the chain of events within the CBI as "laughable".

"Those who raise questions on others' integrity and credibility are found to be corrupt themselves. I saw a news headline that said CBI raids CBI office. It is like a thief is going to catch another thief. There is nothing more laughable than this," Trinamool Congress MP and party supremo Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee said.

Left leaders also accused the BJP of using CBI for its political benefit.

"CBI is being used as a political tool. It is quite evident if you see the progress in the Saradha and Narada probe. The CBI sends notices to the accused when elections approach and then goes off to sleep when the elections get over," CPI-M MP Mohammad Selim said.

The arrest of CBI official Kumar on Monday comes a day after the agency registered an FIR against Asthana and several others for allegedly accepting bribes to settle a case involving meat exporter Moin Qureshi, who is facing multiple cases of money laundering and corruption.

The CBI has alleged that bribes were given at least five times in December 2017 and October 2018.

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