The marathon questioning of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund and Rose Valley scams on the second day, that began at 10.30 am, got over. The questioning by the CBI was being done as per the directions of the Supreme Court. Interestingly, Kumar and former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh were questioned by making them sit face to face at the probe agency's office in Shillong.
A two-member CBI team, who are the Investigating Officers in the Saradha and Rose Valley scams, arrived in the Meghalaya capital in the afternoon. Kumar and Ghosh were grilled in the initial period by a 10-member team of the CBI.
The Kolkata Police chief was quizzed for nearly nine hours on Saturday by three senior CBI officers about his alleged role in tampering of crucial evidence in the case, they said. Kumar had led the special investigation team (SIT) formed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to probe the Saradha scam before the case was handed over to the CBI by the apex court.
Officials in Delhi said the CBI has not acceded to the demand of Kumar to have his questioning session videographed. It is done in cases of custodial interrogations.
There were reports quoting lawyer of Kumar that his questioning sessions are being video recorded by the CBI on his request.
Ghosh, who arrived in Shillong shortly after 10 am, sought blessings of goddess Saraswati at a pandal, barely 100 metres from the CBI office, before entering the highly secured office of the investigating agency at Oakland.
"Both were questioned and made to sit face to face in the later half of the day. Each of them were questioned separately in the initial period," an official privy to the investigation told news agency PTI, requesting anonymity.
The former Trinamool Congress MP was arrested in 2013 in the Saradha ponzi scam and has been out on bail since 2016. Ghosh, before entering the CBI premises, told media persons, "I have no comments (to make). I have been asked to attend a hearing at this office. All along I have been cooperating with the investigating agency. So, I came to attend it."
On Saturday, the CBI began questioning the Kolkata Police chief at highly secured agency's office in Shillong, Kumar, his counsel Biswajit Deb and senior IPS officers Javed Shamim and Murlidhar Sharma arrived at the probe agency's office at 11 am.
Kumar's counsel and the two IPS officers were asked to leave the CBI office within 30 minutes, they said. Kumar is being interrogated at the highly secured CBI office at Oakland area in the Meghalaya capital where three senior CBI sleuths from Delhi reached on Friday.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday had directed the Kolkata Police chief to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam while making it clear that he will not be arrested.
The CBI had alleged in the Supreme Court that Kumar, who was leading the SIT probe into Saradha chit fund scam, tampered with the electronic evidence and handed over documents to the agency, some of which were "doctored".
(With PTI inputs)