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Explained: WB Assembly's Resolution Against 'Excesses' of Central Probe Agencies

This comes at a time when central agencies are probing several cases in which senior TMC leaders are accused.

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Explainers
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Explained: WB Assembly's Resolution Against 'Excesses' of Central Probe Agencies
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On Monday, 19 September, the West Bengal Assembly became the first to pass a resolution against the "excesses" of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and other central probe agencies.

The resolution suggested that these agencies were "selectively targeting" the leaders of West Bengal's ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) and "creating an atmosphere of fear."

This comes at a time when central agencies are probing several high-profile cases in which senior TMC leaders are accused. Here's all you need to know about the resolution and its consequences.

Explained: WB Assembly's Resolution Against 'Excesses' of Central Probe Agencies

  1. 1. What Is a Resolution?

    A resolution "is a self-contained independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House," according to a document published by the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

    In simple terms, a Legislative Assembly takes up matters of general interest for discussion in the form of a 'motion'. This motion is discussed on the floor and put to a vote. The Assembly's decision on the matter makes the motion a resolution.

    A resolution in the West Bengal Assembly can be passed under Rule 169 of the rules of procedure which says "a member or a Minister may move a resolution relating to a matter of general public interest."

    According to the rules, a resolution may be in the form of "a declaration of opinion, or a recommendation, or may be in the form so as to record either approval or disapproval by the House of an act or policy of Government, or convey a message; or commend, urge or request an action; or call attention to a matter or situation for consideration by government; or in such other form as the Speaker may consider appropriate."

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  2. 2. What Did the Resolution Say?

    The motion against central agencies was tabled by TMC MLAs Nirmal Ghosh and Tapas Roy and was subsequently passed by the West Bengal Assembly with 189 voting in favour of it and 69 against it.

    The resolution condemned the actions of federal agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Income Tax Department, accusing them of "selectively targeting" ruling party leaders and "creating an atmosphere of fear."

    It accused the agencies of being biased even when the names of BJP leaders had come up in connection with chit fund scams.

    "Despite names of BJP leaders featuring in chit fund scams, the agencies are overlooking and probing just one side of the matter," the resolution said, adding that the central agencies are a part of the "larger conspiracy to topple democratically-elected governments and playing politics of hate."

    However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, sought to insulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi from allegations of misuse of central agencies, saying she doesn't believe that the PM is behind the alleged excesses.

    "I don't believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind this, but some BJP leaders are misusing the CBI and ED for their interests," she said.

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  3. 3. What Are the Actions the Resolution Is Referring To?

    The resolution highlighted the arrest of senior Trinamool leaders Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee by the CBI last year in the ongoing Narada scam probe.

    In July this year, now-sacked TMC leader Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged scam related to the recruitment of teachers in the state.

    On 2 September, the CBI arrested TMC leader and chairman of Halisahar Municipality Raju Sahani for his alleged role in the Bardhaman Sanmarg Welfare Trust ponzi scheme.

    Then, on 4 September, the CBI raided the residences of Trinamool Congress (TMC)'s Bijpur MLA Subodh Adhikari and his brother Kamal Adhikari in connection with the chit fund scam that duped people of lakhs of rupees.

    Most recently, on 7 September, the CBI conducted searches at the premises of West Bengal Law Minister Moloy Ghatak in connection with its probe into an alleged coal smuggling case from Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) mines in Asansol.

    Expand
  4. 4. What Will This Resolution Do?

    The resolution, which condemns the actions of the central probe agencies, merely amounts to the Assembly expressing its opinion and, as such, doesn't have any binding legal effect.

    Such a resolution can, however, have a political effect.

    This isn't the first time that the West Bengal Assembly has floated a resolution against federal agencies. In November 2021, it passed a resolution against increased jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) along the India-Bangladesh border.

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  5. 5. What Was the BJP's Response?

    Leader of the Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari said that such a "resolution against the CBI and ED" was against the rules and regulations of the Assembly.

    "The Supreme Court has passed a clear verdict in favour of the ED just a few weeks ago. So this resolution under Rule 169 is absolutely useless," Adhikari told the press.

    BJP leader Amit Malviya also criticised the TMC over the move.

    "SSC scam, coal and cattle smuggling cases, disproportionate rise in wealth of Mamata Banerjee’s immediate family, have all been handed over to central agencies, who have found voluminous proof of wrong doing, at the behest of Courts. Will WB CM bring a bill against judiciary too? [sic]" he tweeted on Monday.

    Expand

What Is a Resolution?

A resolution "is a self-contained independent proposal submitted for the approval of the House and drafted in such a way as to be capable of expressing a decision of the House," according to a document published by the Delhi Legislative Assembly.

In simple terms, a Legislative Assembly takes up matters of general interest for discussion in the form of a 'motion'. This motion is discussed on the floor and put to a vote. The Assembly's decision on the matter makes the motion a resolution.

A resolution in the West Bengal Assembly can be passed under Rule 169 of the rules of procedure which says "a member or a Minister may move a resolution relating to a matter of general public interest."

According to the rules, a resolution may be in the form of "a declaration of opinion, or a recommendation, or may be in the form so as to record either approval or disapproval by the House of an act or policy of Government, or convey a message; or commend, urge or request an action; or call attention to a matter or situation for consideration by government; or in such other form as the Speaker may consider appropriate."

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What Did the Resolution Say?

The motion against central agencies was tabled by TMC MLAs Nirmal Ghosh and Tapas Roy and was subsequently passed by the West Bengal Assembly with 189 voting in favour of it and 69 against it.

The resolution condemned the actions of federal agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Income Tax Department, accusing them of "selectively targeting" ruling party leaders and "creating an atmosphere of fear."

It accused the agencies of being biased even when the names of BJP leaders had come up in connection with chit fund scams.

"Despite names of BJP leaders featuring in chit fund scams, the agencies are overlooking and probing just one side of the matter," the resolution said, adding that the central agencies are a part of the "larger conspiracy to topple democratically-elected governments and playing politics of hate."

However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, sought to insulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi from allegations of misuse of central agencies, saying she doesn't believe that the PM is behind the alleged excesses.

"I don't believe that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind this, but some BJP leaders are misusing the CBI and ED for their interests," she said.

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What Are the Actions the Resolution Is Referring To?

The resolution highlighted the arrest of senior Trinamool leaders Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee by the CBI last year in the ongoing Narada scam probe.

In July this year, now-sacked TMC leader Partha Chatterjee was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged scam related to the recruitment of teachers in the state.

On 2 September, the CBI arrested TMC leader and chairman of Halisahar Municipality Raju Sahani for his alleged role in the Bardhaman Sanmarg Welfare Trust ponzi scheme.

Then, on 4 September, the CBI raided the residences of Trinamool Congress (TMC)'s Bijpur MLA Subodh Adhikari and his brother Kamal Adhikari in connection with the chit fund scam that duped people of lakhs of rupees.

Most recently, on 7 September, the CBI conducted searches at the premises of West Bengal Law Minister Moloy Ghatak in connection with its probe into an alleged coal smuggling case from Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) mines in Asansol.

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What Will This Resolution Do?

The resolution, which condemns the actions of the central probe agencies, merely amounts to the Assembly expressing its opinion and, as such, doesn't have any binding legal effect.

Such a resolution can, however, have a political effect.

This isn't the first time that the West Bengal Assembly has floated a resolution against federal agencies. In November 2021, it passed a resolution against increased jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) along the India-Bangladesh border.

ADVERTISEMENT

What Was the BJP's Response?

Leader of the Opposition and BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari said that such a "resolution against the CBI and ED" was against the rules and regulations of the Assembly.

"The Supreme Court has passed a clear verdict in favour of the ED just a few weeks ago. So this resolution under Rule 169 is absolutely useless," Adhikari told the press.

BJP leader Amit Malviya also criticised the TMC over the move.

"SSC scam, coal and cattle smuggling cases, disproportionate rise in wealth of Mamata Banerjee’s immediate family, have all been handed over to central agencies, who have found voluminous proof of wrong doing, at the behest of Courts. Will WB CM bring a bill against judiciary too? [sic]" he tweeted on Monday.

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