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Kolkata Police Chief Fields CBI Questions on Saradha Scam in Shillong, Mamata Keeps a Watch from Bengal

The Supreme Court had earlier this week directed Kumar to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation of cases related to the Saradha chit-fund scam, but made it clear he will not be arrested.

Aniruddha Ghosal, Sougata Mukhopadhyay

Updated:February 9, 2019, 1:08 PM IST
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Kolkata Police Chief Fields CBI Questions on Saradha Scam in Shillong, Mamata Keeps a Watch from Bengal
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. (PTI)

Kolkata: Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar is in Shillong for interrogation by the CBI on Saturday in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam.

The Supreme Court had earlier this week directed Kumar to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation of cases related to the Saradha chit-fund scam, but made it clear he will not be arrested.

The interrogation is scheduled a day after Kolkata Police raided two properties of a company it said was linked to Nageswara Rao, the former interim director of CBI. The police action is likely to be perceived as a tit-for-tat response for the attempted search at the house of city police chief Rajeev Kumar this past Sunday, as that was ordered when Rao was still at the helm of the investigative agency.

The company allegedly being probed by the Kolkata police - Angela Mercantiles Pvt Ltd - was raided earlier too after a complaint was filed at the Bowbazar Police Station, said police sources. The raid was carried out at two offices of the company - one in central Kolkata and the other in Salt Lake City.

Officially, Kolkata Police said the raid was conducted as the company was not registered as per law.

While initial reports stated that AMPL was owned by Rao's wife Mannem Sandhya, the CBI officer in a statement issued a denial. In a statement earlier, he had also explained the financial transactions.

Saying that the firm was not related to his family members, Rao stated he had already clarified regarding this issue through a signed press statement on October 30, 2018. "Further, complete details of all property of my family and mine have already been submitted in my annual property return submitted to the government,” he added.

Police sources alleged that there have been a “series of transactions” between the company and Rao’s wife that are under scanner.

They said there are primarily three transactions – Rs 25 lakh taken as loan by Rao’s wife from the company in 2011-12, Rs 1.5 crore paid to the company in 2012-13 and Rs 14 lakh paid as salary to Rao’s daughter – that are being looked at.

AMPL is a non-banking finance company (NBFC) with its registered office on 5 Clive Row (Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarani). Till October 2018, the registered office was in CA block of Salt Lake City, Sector-I. It was incorporated in February 1994, as per the Regitrar of Company records.

“There are some irregularities in the financial dealings which we are probing,” maintained a police source.

Police are probing as to why Rao’s wife needed the money, what exactly was the nature of the transaction, and what position did his daughter hold at the time of this financial transaction.

The owner of the company, one Praween Agarwal, is also likely to be questioned by Kolkata police at the Lal Bazaar headquarters on Saturday.

This comes just days after the ugly face-off between the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Narendra Modi government at the Centre was triggered by CBI sleuths being detained by police after they showed up at the residence of Kumar, alleging he had destroyed evidence related to the chit fund scams.

Saying that the CBI’s attempted raids were born out of the ruling BJP’s vendetta politics, Banerjee sat on a dharna for three days, and only ended her protest after the Supreme Court protected the top cop from arrest.

But the court had asked that he must join the CBI probe into the chit fund scam and asked him to appear for questioning in Shillong. Both sides had called it a victory. Meanwhile, a new team from the CBI also arrived in Kolkata on Friday with specific orders of investigating the SIT that had probed the Saradha chit fund case.

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