The CBI has moved the Supreme Court seeking to question senior IPS officer and former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the multi-crore-rupee Saradha chit fund scam case. The central probe agency, which has been entrusted with the task of probing the Ponzi scheme cases in West Bengal by the apex court, has moved the fresh plea to quiz the senior police officer again, alleging that he has not been cooperating with it in the ongoing investigation, a source said.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said Kumar’s further questioning is necessary in order to unearth the larger nexus in the scam. The plea is likely to be taken up for hearing on the reopening of the apex court after the winter break.
The Saradha group of companies allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of return on their investments. The scam was unearthed in 2013 during Kumar’s tenure as the Bidhannagar police commissioner.
Kumar was part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the West Bengal government for probing the scam, before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases. In November last year, the apex court had sought the response of the IPS officer on the CBI’s appeal challenging the anticipatory bail granted to him in the chit fund scam by the Calcutta High Court.
The probe agency had filed an appeal in the apex court against the October 1, 2019 order of the Calcutta High Court, which had granted Kumar the relief saying it was not an appropriate case for custodial interrogation. The high court had directed Kumar to cooperate with the investigating officers and make himself available before them for questioning on a 48-hour notice by the CBI.
On September 21, 2019, a pre-arrest bail plea of the IPS officer was rejected by the Alipore District and Sessions Court in Kolkata. The Centre and the West Bengal government were also locked in an unprecedented standoff after a CBI team had reached Kumar’s official residence for questioning him, but had to retreat as the local police detained its officers.