Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

SC directs Kolkata Police Commissioner to appear before CBI

ANI | Updated: Feb 05, 2019 21:13 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 5 (ANI): In a setback to the Mamata Banerjee–led West Bengal government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, said that no coercive step should be taken against Kumar who will now appear before the CBI in Shillong in Meghalaya.
The Supreme Court, which posted further hearing in the case to February 20, also issued a contempt notice to the West Bengal Chief Secretary, the DGP and the Kolkata Police Commissioner on a plea which said that a CBI team was detained when it went to question Kumar on Sunday.
"The CJI bench ordered that Rajeev Kumar should make himself available in light of the prayer of the application of the CBI and fully cooperate,” senior lawyer and BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.
The top court’s directive came against the backdrop of a dharna launched by the West Bengal Chief after a CBI team went to Kolkata to question Kumar on Sunday.
“At the same time, the court stated that no coercive steps would be taken (against Kumar),” Kohli added.
“It has also been made clear by the court that the personal appearance after filing of replies of the concerned officers may be required on February 20 and that will be communicated by the Secretary General of the Supreme Court on February 19," Kohli said.
The Supreme Court’s directions came a day after the CBI approached it to complain that Kumar, a senior IPS officer, was not cooperating in the probe into the chit fund scam which being monitored by the top court.
An attempt by the CBI to question Kumar at his residence in Kolkata on Sunday was foiled by the local police which detained the team of the central investigative agency for some time.
"In the first instance, there was no need for what happened on Sunday and cooperation could have been extended easily to CBI, which is pursuing the order of the Supreme Court,” Kohli said.
“The fact that Rajeev Kumar has been directed to assist CBI in every way possible clearly shows that the actions that were being contemplated and taken by the Kolkata Police were not in the correct light and spirit of what should have been done," the advocate said.
He added, "Mamata Banerjee and her government would have much to explain politically that what was the need for the government of West Bengal to come down to a level where an investigative agency, working clearly on the directions of the Supreme Court, was being prevented... A Chief Minister getting down on dharna for an officer... What is it that is so sensitive in that material that the Kolkata Police is not sharing with the CBI that would be against the TMC government?"
The CBI, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, alleged that there were several incriminating materials or correspondence in the Saradha chit fund case that were collected during the investigation by the CBI against the senior police officials as well as senior politicians.
The CBI affidavit states that the investigation was being done by SIT and crucial evidence such as laptops, mobile phones among others were handed over to the main accused in Saradha
scam case by the investigating officer of West Bengal police working under direct supervision of Rajeev Kumar.
The affidavit further states that return of crucial evidence to main accused by the SIT, despite regular monitoring by Calcutta High Court, clearly show connivance of SIT to a larger conspiracy wherein local authorities obstructed probe and attempted to destroy evidence prior to transfer of the case to CBI by the Supreme Court.
Senior lawyer and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for the West Bengal government, said in the court, "It's an attempt to humiliate and score point. What’s the great urgency? For five years there was no FIR. There is not a single FIR against Rajeev Kumar under 201 (Destruction of evidence) of the IPC."
The CBI had on Monday filed a contempt plea in the Supreme Court against the chief secretary of West Bengal, the director general of police and the Kolkata Police Commissioner for alleged wilful and deliberate violation of apex court orders.
The agency said the non-cooperation of Rajeev Kumar was brought to the notice of the West Bengal DGP. However, neither the DGP nor the police commissioner cooperated, it alleged.
The CBI is investigating this case under a "hostile environment and non-cooperation from the state of West Bengal and it’s agencies/departments", the petition said.
Rajeev Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, has been serving as Kolkata's police commissioner since January 2016. He has reportedly not responded summons from the CBI in connection with their probes into the Rose Valley and Saradha ponzi scams.
Kumar led the SIT investigation into the scams until 2014 when the agency took over following directions from the Supreme Court. The CBI was slated to question Kumar about documents that reportedly went missing. (ANI)