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Supreme Court ends arrest shield for ex-Kolkata top cop, gives 7 days to seek bail

The top court said its February 5 order granting interim protection to Rajeev Kumar will continue for seven days from Friday so that he approach the competent court for legal remedy.

india Updated: May 17, 2019 12:02 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
New Delhi
supreme court,arrest,bail
The Supreme Court said on Friday former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s protection from arrest in the Saradha chit fund scam case will be withdrawn after a week and asked CBI to act in accordance with law.(PTI FILE)

The Supreme Court on Friday withdrew its protection from arrest for ex-Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam case and gave the controversial police officer 7 days to get anticipatory bail from an appropriate court.

The top court said its February 5 order granting interim protection to Rajeev Kumar will continue for seven days from Friday so that he approach the competent court for legal remedy. In this case, it would mean getting anticipatory bail. If Rajeev Kumar doesn’t manage to get the arrest shield, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ruled that the CBI would be free to act in accordance with law in the case.

Friday’s court ruling that is seen as a setback to Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee two days ahead of the last round of voting comes a fortnight after the CBI submitted in a sealed cover three documents that purportedly establish former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s role in the alleged tampering of evidence in the Saradha and other chit fund cases.

In February, the Supreme Court had granted interim protection from arrest to Rajeev Kumar but told him to face questioning by the CBI in Shillong, which the judges had said, was a neutral place.

Also Read | Why Rajeev Kumar features in the Saradha scam

After five days of grilling him, the CBI told the Supreme Court that it wanted “custodial interrogation” of the senior police officer seen to be close to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee because he wasn’t coming clean on his role. The CBI alleges that there was prima facie evidence that Kumar, who once headed the special investigating team set up by Bengal police to probe the Saradha chit fund scam.

Rajeev Kumar was also at the center of a mega showdown between Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the Centre’s CBI in February when she led a street protest against the CBI which wanted to interrogate Kumar.

Also Read | The Kolkata police commissioner at the centre of Mamata Banerjee, Centre tussle

Kumar, who was shifted out as Bengal’s additional director general of police in-charge of the CID, was shunted out of the state on the Election Commission’s orders this week and ordered to report to the Home Ministry in national capital Delhi. He turned up at the Union Home Ministry on Thursday and immediately proceeded on leave.

According to the EC report accessed by HT, the poll panel had taken a dim view of Rajeev Kumar detaining BJP spokesman Tejinder Bagga from a Kolkata hotel and bringing him to the city’s Jorasanko police station. The poll panel said he had exceeded his brief.

Also Read | CBI vs Mamata Banerjee: How the showdown started in Kolkata and Delhi

First Published: May 17, 2019 11:10 IST