CBI wants to interrogate former Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar in custody
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) moved the Supreme Court on Saturday seeking permission for “custodial interrogation” of former Calcutta Police Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha and other Ponzi chit fund scam.
The central agency said that Kumar needed to be questioned to “unravel” the larger conspiracy and the “money trail” in the scam. Kumar has been accused of being evasive and non-cooperative.
The Supreme Court had on February 5 restrained the agency from resorting to any “coercive action” against Kumar, including arrest. However, in its application CBI wants the top court to recall this order. It also wants to interrogate some other Bengal police officers in connection with the scam.
“It is submitted that in order to recover the material evidence and to investigate into the acts of commission and omission on the part of Bidhan Nagar Police Commissioner and the SIT in causing concealment or causing disappearance of evidence that was collected by them during their investigation and to investigate into the larger conspiracy aspect. It is requested that CBI be allowed to examine Shri Rajeev Kumar and other police officers and the consequent investigations and collection of evidence if so necessitates then for subject them to custodial interrogation,” the CBI said in its affidavit.
“Shri Rajeev Kumar gave elusive replies not disclosing the reason why special investigation team (SIT), West Bengal did not proceed to investigate against other influential persons in an analogous manner under his stewardship as Commissioners of Police, Bidhan Nagar and as in charge of day-to-day function of the SIT, West Bengal,” the CBI said.
According to the CBI the main accused in the case Sudipta Sen had sent a detailed complaint dated April 6, 2018 addressed to the CBI containing serious allegations against many influential persons such as Kunal Kumar Ghosh (ex-MP) Srinjoy Bose (ex-MP) Santanu Ghosh, Nalini Chidambaram, Matang Singh, Manoranjana Sinh. But during his examination Kumar told the CBI that the Bengal police had charge sheeted only Kunal Kumar Ghosh but not others.
A CBI team had wanted to quiz Kumar on February 3 at his Kolkata residence but the exercise quickly turned into a showdown with the Bengal Police and the government. The CBI team was bundled into police vehicles and taken to a police station from where they were released later.
The abortive attempt by the CBI to question Kumar also led to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee launching a ‘Save the Constitution’ dharna late that night at Esplanade in the heart of the Kolkata as she accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah of plotting a ‘coup’. She ended the dharna 45 hours later.
The state government appointed Anuj Sharma as the new Kolkata Police Commissioner and posted Kumar as Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on February 9. On the same day, the CBI began questioning Kumar in Shillong. The exercise lasted three days.