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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Stiff at first, Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar ‘cooperates’ with CBI in 8-hour grilling

After an initial reluctance, Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Saturday started cooperating with CBI’s investigators in the probe related to the Saradha chit fund scam, according to people familiar with the matter.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2019 21:46 IST
David Laitphlang
David Laitphlang
Hindustan Times, Shillong
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in Shillong.
Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in Shillong. (ANI)
         

After an initial reluctance, Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Saturday started cooperating with CBI’s investigators in the probe related to the Saradha chit fund scam, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kumar was accompanied by his lawyer Bishwajit Deb, Kolkata Police officers — deputy commissioner, STF, Muralidhar Sharma and additional CP headquarters, Javed Shamim — but all were asked to sit in a separate room.

Kumar who arrived in Shillong on Friday and checked into a top heritage hotel was taken to the CBI office at Oakland in the heart of the city and his questioning commenced at 11 am, and though he wouldn’t budge at first, the tone changed towards evening, sources in the agency said.

After around 8 hours of questioning, Kumar left the CBI office. He will be questioned again on Sunday.

Security was tightened at the CBI office as journalists had swarmed the area.

CBI joint director and Kolkata unit chief, Pankaj Srivastava will reach Shillong from New Delhi to join the questioning process.

The 12-member CBI team led by SP, CBI Kolkata Vivek Dutt consists of officers of the rank SP, additional SP, DSP amongst others. Dutt holds the rank of DIG.

There are rumours that the interview venue may be shifted to another location in the suburbs of the capital city so that concerted efforts by the CBI team will continue on Sunday and perhaps over the next few days till the investigators are satisfied.

Also read | Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar grilled for 8 hours, CBI says he refuses to cooperate

Watch | Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar grilled for 8 hours by CBI 

Sources informed that the sleuths who had done extensive homework in Delhi had generated questions based on recorded statements of Saradha accused Debjani Mukherjee, Arvind Chouhan, Saradha accountant Pradyut Chatterjee and many others who had been interrogated over the last few years.

Meanwhile, suspended Trinamool MP Kunal Ghosh who was also summoned by the CBI to join in the investigation reached Shillong on Saturday evening. Ghosh had earlier told a news channel that Kumar worked in a distinctive pattern to destroy evidence especially when it involved a “big name”.

The possibility of Kumar and Ghosh being put face to face cannot be ruled out, sources said.

The next date of hearing is scheduled for February 20 so the exercise will have to be expedited sources tell.

The CBI has alleged in the Supreme Court that Kumar, who headed a special investigation team (SIT) investigating the Saradha chit fund scam, tampered with electronic evidence and handed over documents to the agency — some of which had been “doctored”.

Kumar arrived in Shillong for questioning as per Supreme Court orders that had also made it clear that the CBI cannot arrest him.

Last Sunday, Kumar was the catalyst of a showdown between West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the Centre with Banerjee launching a protest and accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah of plotting a ‘coup’ and using the CBI and government agencies to threaten political opponents.

First Published: Feb 09, 2019 21:24 IST