Former Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar (File Photo)
In what could be a big relief for West Bengal additional director general (ADG), CID, Rajeev Kumar, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday accepted his plea, seeking quashing of the CBI notice served on him over alleged suppression of facts in the Saradha chit fund scam case. Additionally, Kumar has been granted protection from arrest till June 12 on conditions that he has to deposit his passport and cooperate with the agency during the investigation process.
However, the court has allowed CBI to go to Kumar's residence everyday at 4 pm for attendance, though no coercive steps can be taken against the former Kolkata Police Commissioner for the next one month. The matter has been listed for further hearing on June 12, when the court reopens following a summer vacation, Justice Pratik Prakash Banerjee said.
For attendance CBI shall go to Rajeev Kumar's residence everyday at 4 PM. He cannot go outside Kolkata. No coercive steps against Kumar for one month. Next hearing on 12th June. https://t.co/8lbaSikWMm— ANI (@ANI) May 30, 2019
Kumar moved the Calcutta High Court on Thursday, following the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)'s notice on him asking to appear before it for assisting the investigation into the multicrore Saradha chit fund scam case.
The development comes days after the Supreme Court had last week dismissed a plea of Kumar seeking extension of protection from arrest in the multi-crore chit fund scam case. A vacation bench of the top court, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, said Kumar can approach the Calcutta High Court or a trial court here for seeking relief in the case.
Kumar, a former commissioner of Kolkata Police, was appointed ADG, CID, by the Mamata Banerjee-led government before the Lok Sabha elections. He was, however, removed by the Election Commission during the poll process and was attached to the home ministry in New Delhi. The state government reinstated him following the withdrawal of the model code of conduct.
In January, the Centre and the state government had faced an unprecedented standoff after a CBI team, which reached the residence of Kumar for questioning, had to retreat following police intervention. Chief Minister Banerjee came out in Kumar’s defence and launched a sit-in to protest in the city against the Centre's move.
On February 5, the Supreme Court had prevented the agency from any coercive action against Kumar, while directing the former police commissioner to appear and co-operate in CBI questioning at a "neutral place". He was questioned by the CBI for nearly five days in Shillong from February 9.
Kumar, who was appointed Commissioner of Police at Bidhan Nagar Police Commissionerate in 2012, had served as the head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the ponzi scams before the CBI took over. Last month, the CBI had told the Supreme Court that Kumar’s custodial interrogation was necessary as he was not cooperating in the probe and was "evasive" and "arrogant" in answering the queries put to him.
As part of the Rs 2,500-crore scam, the Saradha group of companies duped lakhs of customers, promising higher rates of returns on their investment, the agency said. Similar modus operandi was adopted by other ponzi companies like Rose Valley operating in West Bengal, Odisha and north eastern states where gullible investors were duped, it added.
(With inputs from agencies)