CBI-Bengal Govt War Escalates as Kolkata Police Send Counter Notice to CBI Joint Director in Aug ’18 Case
CBI joint director and head of zone (Kolkata) Pankaj Kumar Srivastava said he would take legal opinion before responding to the notice.
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail.
Kolkata: In a counter attack on the CBI’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Kolkata Police on Monday served a notice to the agency’s joint director and head of zone (Kolkata) Pankaj Kumar Srivastava in connection with ‘wrongful restraint’ and ‘wrongful confinement’ of two businessmen in August 2018.
The investigation into the bank fraud was led by Srivastava and a counter case had then been filed by the businessmen over the charges.
Monday’s notice (a copy of which is available with News18) served to Srivastava read, “Please provide the details, particulars pertaining to present posting and rank of CBI officer Sri Sunil Meena and other officials who were present during detention of Vaibhav Khator of 1, Janendra Avenue, Shree Apartment, Police station Uttarpara, Hooghly, and Vivek Agarwal s/o Mahesh Agarwal of 493, B7, GT Road, Panchsil Apartment, Howrah at CBI (ACB) Office at Nizam Palace on August 17 and August 18, 2018.”
It further read, “Please provide the CCTV footage of CBI (ACB) office at Nizam Palace for the period from August 17 and August 18, 2018. It is pertinent to mention here that earlier in course of preliminary enquiry on several occasions the above mentioned information/documents were sought for but no reply was received till date.”
“You are thereby requested to produce (through authorized representatives) or cause to be produce the said documents/information before Sub Inspector B Bhattacharjee – investigation officer of the above case – at Bhowanipore police station,” it read.
Srivastav said he would take legal opinion before responding to the notice. At present, he is on his way to New Delhi to assist the CBI in its legal battle in the Supreme Court.
This follows the high drama that has been continuing since Sunday evening after a scuffle broke out between a team of CBI and police officers outside the residence of city police commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
According to initial reports, a team of seven CBI officers, later joined by a further 40-odd men arrived at Kumar's residence in the evening as part of their investigation in Rose Valley and Saradha Ponzi scams.
However, they were stopped outside the IPS officer's house, following which nearly 15 CBI officers were forcibly taken to a police station.
Throwing her weight behind Kumar, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to Kumar’s Loudon Street residence in central Kolkata.
"I have informed my director in-charge. The central government must intervene. If we are unable to investigate a Supreme Court-monitored case, how would we fulfill our duties in other cases?" Srivastav told News18.
Later, paramilitary forces were deployed after Srivastav alleged that his life was under threat as Kolkata Police officers surrounded his house and "banged on doors".
"My family is scared. They are fear for my security. I think the state police will break down the door any moment and arrest me,” Srivastav told CNN News18 minutes before Banerjee launched a sit-in against the CBI's move to arrest the Kolkata police commissioner.
On Monday, CBI offices at Nizam Palace in south Kolkata and CGO Complex in Salt Lake turned into fortresses as heavily armed CRPF jawans took charge of security.
No one was allowed to enter the premises without multiple verifications and checks. This is for the first time that a sizable security force has been deployed at CBI offices in the city.
CBI's interim director Nageshwar Rao said his personnel were being targeted to destroy evidence of the chit fund cases.
"Don’t know under what sections my men have been arrested/ detained. My fear is CBI complex at both salt lake and Nizam palace will be attacked to destroy evidence," Nageshwar Rao told News18.
Regarding allegations from Banerjee and several other leaders of opposition parties that the CBI was acting at the behest of a political party, Rao said the claims were baseless.
"We are only following the law and the rule book. We are not politicians but investigators. Rajiv Kumar was not cooperating so we had to resort to these steps," he said.
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