Taxmen say search operations have increased manifold, help from forces sought ‘as per law’.
Kolkata: Days after a row erupted over the Army drill at toll plazas in West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday objected to the Centre’s move to deploy CRPF personnel for providing security to Income Tax officials during search operations in the state.
She has also shot off a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh demanding that the decision be “immediately revoked”.
The I-T department on its part said the deployment of CRPF personnel is “as per the law”. “The number of search operations being carried out now have increased manifold and this is why we are taking help of CRPF personnel,” a senior official of the I-T investigation wing said.
Responding to a query, he said the investigation wing was also getting cooperation from the West Bengal police. “As per law, we are authorised to seek the help of paramilitary forces, Customs, PSU banks and CISF personnel during search operations,” the official said.
“This is nothing new and we are doing it every time. It is well known that we are carrying out such action day-in and day-out. So it is necessary to take the help of other Central agencies besides the state police,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Ms Banerjee, in her one-page letter to Mr Singh, described the move as “unconstitutional, illegal and against all principles of cooperative federalism”.
“Deployment of any Central police force to any state can only be done at the request of the state government. The decision must be immediately revoked,” she demanded, adding, “The state government and police forces would provide all necessary help and protection if so requested by any Central government agency for any legitimate action on their part.”
Stating that no communication in this regard has been received by the state government, Ms Banerjee said, “A copy of such instruction as reported in the media is enclosed.”
“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),” read the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to chief ministers of all states.
Slamming the Centre, TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “They are not even informing the chief minister who is also the home minister. They have resorted to political hooliganism.”
A row had erupted over the deployment of Army personnel at toll plazas in the state with the CM and the Centre trading charges. While Ms Banerjee had accused the Centre of engineering a “military coup”, the Army had maintained that the deployment was “a routine exercise”.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar had dashed off a letter to Ms Banerjee, saying her allegations against the Army can “adversely” impact the morale of the force and the TMC chief hit back over his “wild assertion”.