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After Failing to Appear Before CBI, Is Arrest Imminent for Former Kolkata Top Cop Rajeev Kumar?

Last time, when the CBI had reached Kumar's residence to question him over his role in probing ponzi scams, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had launched an agitation against the BJP-led Central government.

Prema Rajaram | CNN-News18

Updated:May 27, 2019, 9:21 PM IST
After Failing to Appear Before CBI, Is Arrest Imminent for Former Kolkata Top Cop Rajeev Kumar?
File photo of former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Kolkata: Former commissioner of Kolkata Police, Rajeev Kumar, failed to appear before the CBI at 10am on Monday in connection with the Saradha chit fund case.

A four-member team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had gone to the IPS officer’s quarters at 34, Park Street, on Sunday night and the office of ADG-CID at Bhawani Bhawan to serve a notice asking him to appear before the CBI on Monday morning.

However, a two-member Crime Investigation Department (CID) team arrived at the CBI office at Salt Lake to submit a letter Kumar’s behalf.

“We have submitted a letter to the CBI. I do not know what is written in the letter,” said Abhijit Mukherjee, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), CID.

Sources said, through the letter, Kumar has requested seven-ten days’ time to appear before the CBI as the former is on a holiday and busy with personal work.

CBI officials, however, hinted that they would not entertain the top cop’s plea.

Kumar’s whereabouts are unknown though he is believed to be mulling legal options, including seeking anticipatory bail from a lower court in Kolkata.

With an ongoing lawyer’s strike, Kumar has been unsuccessful in seeking the anticipatory bail after the Supreme Court directed him do so at a lower court.

The apex court had given him a week’s time as immunity from being arrested which ended on Friday.

In another development, a short while before the CBI team submitted the notice on Sunday evening, Kumar was reinstated as the ADG-CID.

He was earlier transferred from this position to the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi when the Model Code of Conduct was in place during the Lok Sabha election.

Kumar was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to look into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund probe.

The top cop is accused of tampering with evidence which includes altering call records of people involved in the scam which was also being probed by the CBI.

The CID was directed to assist the CBI in investigations.

In February this year, a CBI team from Delhi had reached Kumar’s bungalow on Loudon Street to question him in connection with the Ponzi scheme.

Kumar had not responded to four summons sent by the CBI earlier which led them to take this step. The team, however, was prevented from entering the house and instead taken to the Shakespere Sarani police station.

Soon after, Banerjee arrived at Kumar’s house and held a sudden press conference, accusing the BJP-led Union government of trying to damage the country’s federal structure.

Banerjee then sat on an indefinite ‘Save the Constitution’ strike at the Metro Channel in the city.

The strike that lasted for nearly three days saw the Trinamool supremo getting support on social media and in-person from opposition leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Kanimozhi, Tejaswi Yadav and Chandrababu Naidu among others. Yadav and Naidu flew down to Kolkata to share the stage with Banerjee.

The CBI then moved the Supreme Court against Kumar. The court had said coercive means could be used on Kumar and that he would have to be questioned in a neutral location — which happened to be Shillong.

This meant that Kumar could not be arrested. The investigating agency questioned Kumar for 40 hours in five days. He was later transferred from his post of Commissioner of Kolkata Police to ADG-CID, before being transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Keeping past events in mind, the CBI is unlikely to take the matter easily.

Meanwhile, Banerjee, still reeling from the Lok Sabha election setback, has kept mum on the recent summons to Kumar.

The next move by the CBI is awaited even as Kumar stayed away from appear before the CBI on Monday morning despite the summons.

Would Kumar manage to seek an anticipatory bail in the upcoming days or would the CBI arrest the top cop?

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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