There can be no two opinions on the need to get to the bottom of the Narada scam in West Bengal. Just before the elections in the state in 2016, a sting operation conducted by a journalist showed several important functionaries of the ruling Trinamool Congress purportedly taking bribes. The CBI and the courts must ensure that all those involved in the bribery must be held accountable and given exemplary punishment. Already, the public has little faith in elected representatives as most, if not all, are viewed to be corrupt. So it is necessary that the guilty be brought to book. But the recent arrests of four Trinamool leaders, including two ministers in the newly constituted government, and its timing smack of partiality and selective witch-hunting. BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Suvendu Adhikari are also accused in the case, with Roy being the accused number one. While the Trinamool leaders have been arrested, the BJP duo is untouched. The only arrest made before this was of the then Burdwan Superintendent of Police S M H Mirza, also seen taking bribes, who had named Roy and claimed that he was taking the money on Roy’s behalf. In the tapes, Roy is also allegedly heard saying the bribe should be paid to Mirza. So the CBI’s inaction against Roy and Adhikari is clearly politically motivated. Also, the fact that the arrests came just two weeks after the BJP got drubbed fairly and squarely in a hotly contested election has not been lost on anyone.
If the CBI’s arrests are clearly one-sided, the Trinamool is also to be blamed for vitiating the already surcharged political atmosphere in the state after the election results. The Trinamool cannot deny that many BJP workers were attacked and killed by its cadre in what were clearly revengeful actions. Those BJP workers who have been spared live in fear of retribution. Both sides need to bring down the temperature. Let us not forget the country is facing a massive public health crisis owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the sake of the nation and its people, there is a need to put politics aside and act maturely in the interest of all.