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Mamata vs CBI: Agency Moves SC to Arrest Former Kolkata Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in Saradha Case

Pursuant to a liberty given by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, CBI has filed the fresh application, citing alleged instances where Kumar did not cooperate with the investigators in the Ponzi scam cases.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:April 6, 2019, 3:05 PM IST
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Mamata vs CBI: Agency Moves SC to Arrest Former Kolkata Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in Saradha Case
File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (PTI Photo)
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New Delhi: The CBI has moved the Supreme Court, seeking arrest and custodial interrogation of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who was supported by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a face-off between the agency and local police in the Saradha chit fund probe. The agency has urged the court to modify its order whereby Kumar was protected from arrest and other coercive action.

CBI also claimed that during the tenure of Kumar as Bidhan Nagar Commissioner when he was also a part of the SIT looking after day-to-day functioning, "he by his inaction or otherwise facilitated Saradha Group to illegally operate and further collect Rs 805.77 Crore during 2012-13, and Rose Valley group to illegally operate and collect Rs 6865.85 Crore during 2012-14”.

Pursuant to a liberty given by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, CBI has filed the fresh application, citing alleged instances where Kumar did not cooperate with the investigators in the Ponzi scam cases.

According to the CBI, even after Kumar appeared for questioning before the CBI officials in terms of the Supreme Court order, he remained elusive and evaded all pertinent questions and also did not assist the CBI in making available crucial evidence in the chit fund cases.

CBI said Kumar, who was in-charge of day-to-day functioning of the special investigation team (SIT) in chit fund case, failed in collecting certain key electronic evidence and also did not proceed with probe against certain influential persons named by Saradha case prime accused Sudipta Sen.

Sen, the agency said, had named former TMC MPs Kunal Ghosh and Srinjoy Bose, senior lawyer Nalini Chidambaram, former Union Minister Matang Sinh and his wife Manoranjan Sinh, and businessman Shantanu Ghosh for allegedly having nexus in the chit fund cases. But Kumar allegedly proceeded only against Ghosh, sparing everyone else.

“There is a serious apprehension that Rajeev Kumar, then Commissioner of Police, Bidhan Nagar Police, Arnab Ghosh, then Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detective Department), and other investigating officers of SIT and Bidhan Nagar Police have not cooperated with the investigation and have also not helped the CBI in making available all the material evidence for investigation of Ponzi scam cases," stated the plea.

"Rajeev Kumar, whenever he spoke, he did not speak the truth. Majority of his replies were evasive and evading...he has not disclosed any crucial information he was privy to. The demeanour, tone and tenor, and the body language of Rajeev Kumar led to a serious apprehension that in the minds of the investigators that Kumar tried all along to shield some body," stated the CBI's application.

In order to investigate the larger conspiracy and role of Kumar and other police officials in causing disappearance and destruction of evidence, CBI said, it is necessary to have custodial interrogation of Kumar.

It requested the bench to recall its order of protection for Kumar dated February 5, and "to enable the CBI subject him to interrogation in accordance with law to unravel the entire gamut of larger conspiracy in these Ponzi scam cases and its subsequent investigation”. The Supreme Court is set to take up the matter on April 8.

On a previous date, the court had observed that the CBI's status report had led "very serious charges" against Kumar and allowed the agency to file a plea for appropriate direction.

The CBI had approached the top court in February following a dramatic turn of events in Kolkata when CBI sleuths claimed they were wrongfully confined by the local police when they sought to question Kumar.

CM Mamata Banerjee had then shown solidarity with Kumar by visiting his residence and then sitting on a protest against the alleged use of CBI by the Central government to brow beat the state police.

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