New Delhi: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee sprung to the defence of Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Sunday, a day after sources in the CBI claimed that he had gone missing since he was “wanted for questioning in the chit fund case".
Slamming the BJP for “worst kind of political vendetta”, Banerjee said the Kolkata police chief is among the best in the world and was not absconding as claimed by the CBI. “He is working 24x7, and was on leave for only one day recently. When you spread lies, the lies will always remain lies,” she tweeted.
Banerjee added that integrity, bravery and honesty of Kumar are unquestioned.
“The highest levels of the BJP leadership are doing the worst kind of political vendetta. Not only are political parties their targets, they are misusing power to take control of the police and destroy all institutions. We condemn this,” she wrote.
The Kolkata police also issued a statement and termed the news of him missing as ‘baseless’ and ‘fake’.
“We have noticed a news item doing the rounds on various audiovisual, print, and digital media since Saturday that CBI is looking for Shri Rajeev Kumar, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, in connection with the Saradha chit fund cases. The news items also mentions that Kumar has not been attending office for three days. Kolkata police condemns and denies such baseless news,” the statement reads.
“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 on January 31 when he was on leave for a day,” it said and threatened to take legal action.
When contacted by PTI, Kumar's staff said he had come to office on Friday but had left. "There is very little chance that he will come to office now. You can try on Monday or call his residence," his office staff told the news agency over phone.
The CBI had on Saturday said it is trying to locate Kumar to question him in connection with Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams and it might have to arrest him as the last resort.
The IPS officer, who led a Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the scams, has to be questioned regarding missing documents and files but he is not responding to notices to appear before the agency, they said.
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 meet him regarding election preparedness, sources said.
Officials said Kumar apparently became apprehensive of his arrest after Bengali film producer Shrikant Mohta was taken into custody. According to some eyewitness accounts, Kumar was spotted in a book fair some days back.
The Rose Valley scam is worth over Rs 15,000 crore and Saradha scam is about Rs 2500 crore. In both cases, the perpetrators allegedly have links with the members of the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, they said.
In both cases, like all other ponzi scam cases under the CBI probe, the investors were lured with attractive interest rates, they said.
They were allegedly duped by ponzi scam companies which refused to return money after maturity of deposits and finally closed their shops. The Supreme Court had handed over probe to the CBI in 2014. Kumar was appointed as the Kolkata Police commissioner in 2016.