The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and â€˜faithfullyâ€™ cooperate with the agency in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe. The court said he will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation at Shillong in Meghalaya. The top court clearly stated that no coercive steps, including the arrest of the Kolkata Police chief, will take place during the course of the investigation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi also issued a notice to Kumar and sought his response before February 20, the next date of hearing on the allegations by the CBI that he was tampering with electronic evidence and that the SIT headed by him provided the agency with doctored materials.
Soon after the verdict, West Bengal Chief Minister claimed that itâ€™s a moral victory. â€œWe have great respect for the judiciary and all institutions. We are so grateful. We're so obliged,â€ she said while reacting to the Supreme Court order.
Banerjee said that she is not just pleading for the Kolkata police chief but also for the millions of people. â€œI am not pleading for Rajeev Kumar alone, I am pleading for millions of people,â€ Banerjee said.
Reacting to the development, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the government is settling scores with opposition after interfering in autonomous bodies. â€œWe are fighting against those elements. It is not about an individual, an officer or a party, we are fighting against government's attempt to discredit autonomous bodies,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) projected the top court order as a blow to the Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal and a moral victory for the investigating agency.
Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad welcomed the order and said it's a blow to the Mamata Banerjee government and a victory for the CBI. It also showed that nobody is above the law, including the police commissioner, he added.
Reacting to the development, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has alleged that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had put democracy in peril in West Bengal and sought to know if Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar was an office bearer of her party TMC.
"I feel that in West Bengal democracy is in peril. Someone occupying a constitutional post is violating the federal structure of the country. This certainly does not augur well for the democracy of the country," Maurya said.
BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya thanked the Supreme Court for directing Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI, saying it was a "victory of democracy" and demanded the resignation of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"The SC verdict is a victory of democracy. Mamata Banerjee should immediately tender resignation," Vijayvergiya said.