Bengal Top Cop Loses Protection from Arrest After HC Order, to be Quizzed by CBI on Saturday
The CBI had earlier demanded custodial interrogation of Rajeev Kumar before the Supreme Court, serving him several notices for allegedly suppressing facts in the Saradha chit fund scam case.
File photo of former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Kolkata: In a major setback for former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, the Calcutta High Court on Friday withdrew the interim protection from arrest given to him in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case. The CBI has summoned Kumar to appear for questioning on Saturday in connection with its probe into the Saradha scam.
The court also rejected Kumar's petition for quashing of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) notice that sought his appearance for questioning in the case.
Kumar, currently the West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Additional Director General (ADG), was part of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the state government to investigate the scam before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014, along with other chitfund cases. The Saradha group of companies allegedly duped lakhs of customers to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of return on investment.
Kumar was the commissioner of Bidhannagar Police when the SIT was formed and looked after its day to day operations, his counsel had told the court during the hearing of the case.
Justice Mitra in her order said Kumar's allegation that he was targetted and singled out for questioning by the CBI cannot be accepted, since other officers superior to him in the SIT were questioned. The court observed that the notice served to Kumar by the investigating officer (IO) cannot be said to be mala fide as alleged by the IPS officer, as he can question anyone acquainted with the case.
Noting that Kumar has failed to substantiate that the CBI was summoning him for questioning to dent his reputation, the court observed that it should be the duty of every responsible officer to assist an investigation.
Immediately after the court’s order, CBI officers reached Kumar's house but he was not present; the officers were told he is "on leave".
According to sources in the CBI, no fresh summons have been issued to the official as of now.
The CBI had earlier demanded custodial interrogation of Kumar before the Supreme Court, serving him several notices for allegedly suppressing facts in the Saradha chit fund scam case. The central probe agency said Kumar needs to be questioned regarding missing documents and files in the chit fund scams.
On June 7, Kumar appeared before the CBI court for a hearing in the Saradha case, where he was grilled for several hours.
On May 17, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had withdrawn the arrest protection order accorded to Kumar on February 5.
Prior to this order of the Supreme Court, Kumar had been removed from the post of Additional Director (ADG) of the (CID) of West Bengal by the Election Commission and transferred to the Union Home Ministry in Delhi.
The Election Commission, for the first time, had invoked Article 324 of the Constitution (which empowers the EC to issue guidelines for conducting elections to the Parliament, President, Vice-President and State Legislature Assemblies) to remove Kumar and West Bengal’s Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya as both officers had curtailed campaigning in the state.
Kumar recently hit the headlines after a standoff with the CBI following the central agency's arrival at his Loudon Street residence in South Kolkata for a "secret operation".
(With inputs from PTI)
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