In an unprecedented development, a number of Central Bureau of Investigation officers, who had gone to question Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar in connection with chit fund scam cases, were bundled into police jeeps, whisked to a police station and detained on Sunday, officials said.
Amidst escalating tension between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Centre, Loudon Street in central Kolkata witnessed a virtual showdown between the state police and the CBI.
There were conflicting reports about some CBI officers being arrested.
While the agency sources claimed that some of its men were forcibly taken away from Kumar's Loudon Street residence and arrested, a senior police officer denied the claim and said they have been taken to the police station to check if they had the documents required for questioning Kumar.
As politics played out on the street, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the residence of Kumar.
She had earlier extended her support to Kumar and alleged that the BJP was 'misusing power to take control of the police and all other institutions'.
Party spokesperson Derek O' Brien tweeted, 'BJP planning a constitutional coup ? 40 CBI officials surround Kolkata Police Commissioner's home. Destruction of institutions goes on unabated. Our demand in #Parliament on Mon. Modi has to go. We are reaching out and sharing this with all Oppn parties who want to #SaveDemocracy.'
West Bengal Director General of Police Virendra and Additional Director General (Law and order) Anuj Sharma too reached Kumar's residence.
In a tit-for-tat move, a team of Kolkata Police officials reached the CGO Complex -- the state headquarters of CBI.
The fast-paced development started unfolding as soon as a team of 40-odd agency officers arrived at Kumar's residence on Sunday evening, but they were stopped by sentries and officials.
A day earlier, the CBI claimed that Kumar had been 'absconding' and 'being looked for' in connection with Saradha and Rose Valley ponzi scam cases.
As the CBI team landed at the city police chief's residence, a team of Kolkata Police officers rushed to the spot to speak to the CBI officials and tried to enquire whether they had required documents to question Kumar.
"We don't want to speak on this issue as of now. Let's see what happens. Please wait for sometime," a senior CBI official standing outside the Police commissioner's house told reporters.
Later on, a small team of CBI officials was taken to Shakespeare Sarani police station for further discussions.
Thereafter, more men arrived at the spot and a commotion ensued. Some CBI officers were then forcibly bundled into police jeeps and taken to a police station.
According to the CBI, IPS officer Kumar, who led a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the scams, needs to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he has not responded to notices to appear before the agency.
Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal cadre, did not even attend a meeting with Election Commission officials who had gone to Kolkata to review election preparedness, sources said.
A statement was issued Sunday from Kolkata Police, dismissing reports of him being missing from work.
"Please take note that not only is the CP Kolkata available in the city, but has also been attending office on a regular basis, with the exception of January 31, 2019, when he was on leave for a day.
"All concerned may please take note that if any news is spread without proper verification, Kolkata Police will initiate strict legal action against defamation of both the CP Kolkata and Kolkata Police," the police said.