Saradha scam: SC ends interim protection for ex-Kolkata top cop
17 May 2019
In a major setback to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and her party, Trinamool Congress, the Supreme Court today vacated its 5 February order against the arrest of former Kolkata police commissioner Rajiv Kumar by the CBI in a case related to the Sharda Chit fund scam.
The SC had, in February, granted interim protection against arrest of former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar for alleged destruction of evidence in the Saradha chit fund scam case
While granting CBI’s plea to lift the 5 February granting protection against arrest to Kumar, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also expressed concern over the manner in which the chit fund scam has panned out.
The bench had, on 30 March, asked the CBI to produce materials to satisfy the court on its plea for the custodial interrogation of Kumar.
The apex court, however, granted Kumar seven days to seek legal remedy
CBI will now be able to approach Kumar for interrogation over his alleged role in destroying evidence in the Saradha chit fund case, but after seven days.
The investigative agency, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, had argued that Kumar's custodial interrogation was required to probe the larger conspiracy to investigate Kumar and other police officials' role in causing disappearance and destruction of evidence in the case and also to unravel the nexus between directors of Saradha Group and politicians.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Kumar and state of West Bengal, had denied the allegations.
Kumar had earlier appeared before CBI officials for questioning in Shillong as per the Supreme Court order but the probe agency said that he remained elusive, did not assist in making available crucial evidence in the chit fund cases. Neither did he disclose any crucial information he was privy to.
Earlier, on 3 February, a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when it reached Kumar's residence to question him. It was followed by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's visit to the officer's home. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and released later.