Former Kolkata top-cop Rajiv Kumar (File Photo)
The Calcutta High Court on Monday extended the interim protection from arrest and custodial interrogation by the CBI, granted to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar by one week in the Saradha chit fund scam case. Kumar's interim protection was scheduled to expire today, i.e. July 22, 2019. However, the matter will be taken up for further hearing on Tuesday, when the CBI will put forward their arguments in the case.
On May 30, a vacation bench of the high court granted Kumar, now additional director general of West Bengal CID, protection from arrest and any coercive action till July 10. The interim protection was later extended to July 22. The Central Bureau of Investigation has been interrogating Kumar, including 120 other officers of the SIT that probed the fraud on lakhs of investors.
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 intervention by the Kolkata Police, of which he was the commissioner then. Chief Minister Mamata 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 top cop 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 Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate in 2012, had served as the head of the state-appointed SIT, which probed the ponzi scams before the CBI took over.
The CBI had told the Supreme Court in April this year 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.