New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday said it is making a strong case against former Kolkata Commissioner of Police Rajeev Kumar, who is accused of tampering with evidence in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, so as to counter his plea for anticipatory bail.
Speaking to ANI, the officials of the probe agency said, “CBI would continue to summon and question suspects and accused involved in West Bengal infamous Saradha chit fund case.” Kumar, who had failed to appear before the CBI on May 27, had written a letter to the probe agency saying he is on leave. The agency will take the next course of action accordingly, CBI sources had said.
CBI today questioned senior Kolkata Police officer Arnab Ghosh in connection with the chit fund scam. It had summoned Ghosh, a former Deputy Commissioner (Detective Department) of Bidhannagar Commissionerate, and another senior police official Dilip Hazra for questioning at its Kolkata office. The other summoned police officer, Dilip Hazra did not appear before CBI in Kolkata today.
Kumar, who is accused of tampering with evidence in the multi-crore Saradha scam, was summoned on May 26 by the probe agency to appear before it at 10 am the next day. A Look-Out Notice was issued against Kumar by the agency even as CBI officials claimed that they were unaware of his whereabouts. Airports and land ports were alerted and officials were asked not to allow him to leave the country.
He had earlier headed the West Bengal Police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the scam. The CBI, in its plea before the Supreme Court, had sought permission for custodial interrogation of Kumar for his alleged role in destroying evidence in the case. It had said that there was prima facie evidence against him of “trying to destroy or tamper with evidence and shield high and mighty” in the case.
The CBI had also argued that Kumar’s custodial interrogation was required to probe the larger conspiracy to unravel the nexus between directors of Saradha Group and politicians, apart from his and other police officials’ role in causing disappearance and destruction of evidence. The agency had claimed that Kumar did not disclose any crucial information he was privy to.
On May 24, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea filed by Kumar seeking an extension of the seven-day period granted to him to approach a competent court for protection from arrest in connection with the case. Kumar had approached the apex court seeking an extension of protection from arrest, claiming that he was not able to access legal remedies in West Bengal since lawyers in the state were on strike.
An unprecedented chain of events unfolded on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when it reached Kumar’s residence to question him. It was followed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to the officer’s home. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and later released.