Prime time debates Wednesday discussed new developments in the Antilia bomb scare case and the politics around West Bengal’s vaccine supply.
On the Antilia bomb scare case, NewsX’s Vineet Malhotra said, “The politics is raining heavy when it comes to this car.” He was referring to BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ claim that he was pressured into reinstating cop Sachin Waze in 2018, at the behest of the Shiv Sena.
“I don’t think it’s politics. It’s serious questions,” observed BJP spokesperson Shaina NC. “If there is a collusion with other personnel within the police department or certain politicians, that needs to come out”.
Malhotra remarked, “You know, a gentleman who had a tainted past was allowed back onto the force and obviously the home ministry and government are equally to blame for these events that led up to this particular bomb scare outside Mr. Ambani’s house.”
National Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson Brijmohan Shrivastav was on the defensive: “In Mumbai, we have 45,000 police officers. Out of that, one person has done something, it cannot be the face of the Mumbai Police.”
Mirror Now’s Tanvi Shukla also debated the “bizarre mystery” of the Antilia bomb scare — specifically the “unceremonious ouster” of the Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
“The biggest question is that, let’s assume, that this was done as the NIA is claiming…why would he (Waze) do it?” asked Vinay Tewari, Managing Editor, Mirror Now.
Former Police Commissioner M.N. Singh felt “the role of Assistant Police Inspector Waze (is) very suspicious in this case”.
NCP’s Mahesh Tapase addressed the political fall-out of the incident: “There has been a little embarrassment but not to the level that we are all talking about…The [state] government is not shielding anybody.”
BJP MLA Ram Kadam went on the offensive against the police officer: “The cash-counting machine was recovered from his [Waze’s] car. A luxury car valued at crores of rupees… his salary might be Rs 50- Rs 60,000 per month … how can he afford a Mercedes car?”
Times Now’s Navika Kumar discussed the West Bengal elections, with the latest political jab coming from Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee who accused the Centre of not providing the state with enough Covid-19 vaccine doses. However, government sources countered by saying 22 lakh shots were still unused in the state.
Kumar wondered why Banerjee hadn’t raised this issue at the meeting presided over by PM Modi with chief ministers which she chose to skip. “Why would she want to use the vaccine issue for her political gain?”
TMC Riju Datta tried to explain away the CM’s behaviour: “Why this perennial Bengal-bashing by Delhi? Mamata Banerjee could not attend the meeting because she had already given her time to the people she was supposed to (meet).”
BJP’s Sambit Patra was derisive of the CM: “Because of politics, she [Banerjee] wants to put the people of Bengal in danger … She should have used these 22 lakh vaccines to protect the people of Bengal.”
On Aaj Tak anchor Rohit Sardana also discussed Mumbai PC Param Bir Singh’s transfer. He asked whether the Maharashtra government had to transfer Singh as the Waze case had become an embarrassment for the government.
NCP’s Nawab Malik said that transferring any officer is well within the rights of the state government. “…if the BJP or the opposition has some proof, they should submit it to the NIA or ATS, which are currently investigating the case,” he added.
On Zee News, Mamata’s allegations on poor vaccine supply was also the topic of the day.
BJP’s Rupa Ganguly called Mamata Banerjee a liar, and said that it was not possible for the central government to not give vaccines to a particular state.
TMC spokesperson Sanjay Sharma could not defend Mamta Banerjee’s statement so he kept saying that her statement must be seen in a larger context — “I agree that vaccination in West Bengal is on, but regular supply of the vaccine is the Centre’s responsibility,” he said.
NDTV India’s Ravish Kumar discussed the new Amendment Bill granting more powers to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
“If the intentions were noble then more rights should have been given to the Delhi government, instead of snatching them away. If the Delhi government and the Assembly cannot give orders for any investigation, then what is the point of that government?” he asked.
Constitutional expert Faizan Mustafa said that the bill is unconstitutional, to a certain degree: “… the provision that the Assembly cannot have power over its committees, is a violation of legislative privileges”.