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Ex-Kolkata top cop gets court breather

Vacation bench judge Protik Prakash Banerjee said Kumar has to appear before the investigating agency whenever he is summoned.

india Updated: May 31, 2019 07:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Ex-Kolkata,Protik Prakash Banerjee,Rajeev Kumar
The vacation bench of the court granted him a month’s protection from June 10, when the court will reopen after summer break.(HT Photo)

Former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, who has been eluding Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summons in connection with its probe of the Saradha chit fund scandal, received a temporary reprieve on Thursday when the Calcutta high court directed the agency not to arrest him, but subject to some strict conditions.

Vacation bench judge Protik Prakash Banerjee said Kumar has to appear before the investigating agency whenever he is summoned. Justice Banerjee also ruled that no one would accompany Kumar in the room where he would be questioned. Kumar was directed to deposit his passport with the CBI within 24 hours.

The judge also said that Kumar has to fully cooperate with the CBI in the investigation. A CBI representative would visit his residence every day at 4 PM to record his presence, said justice Banerjee, adding that CBI official should not face any problems in entering Kumar’s residence.

The court granted him protection from arrest and any coercive action till July 10 .

The vacation bench of the court granted him a month’s protection from June 10, when the court will reopen after summer break.

The court also directed the West Bengal government not to depute Kumar anywhere outside the city on official duty.

Incidentally, the CBI has issued a lookout notice so that the former Kolkata police commissioner could not leave the country. On May 26, CBI officers summoned Kumar to their office at 10 am on Monday in connection with the probe in the chit fund scandal, in which hundreds of thousands of small investors lost their life savings when the Saradha Group went bust in 2013.

Kumar sent a letter on Monday asking for seven days’ time, saying he was on leave.

A special investigation team under Rajeev Kumar had investigated the chit fund case before the CBI took over the probe in 2014. The CBI alleges it has evidence including phone call records to establish that he tampered with evidence to shield politicians linked to the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

Hours before the CBI summons were issued on May 26, the West Bengal government reinstated Kumar as additional director general-in-charge of the criminal investigation department (CID), from where the Election Commission of India removed him before the Lok Sabha elections.

On Thursday, CBI interrogated special superintendent of CID, Arnab Ghosh, for about seven hours. Ghosh was the second in command in the SIT set up to probe the Saradha scam till CBI took over the case in 2014.

While Ghosh was being questioned, police sent two trunks of documents related to Saradha to the CBI office in Salt Lake.

Among the documents that the CBI is looking for are a red diary and a pen drive containing details of alleged payoffs made to influential people by Saradha management

CBI had also questioned Arnab Ghosh for about nine hours on Wednesday. The agency also questioned Prabhakar Nath, the first investigating officer in the Saradha SIT.

First Published: May 30, 2019 22:21 IST