Kolkata: In a major setback to senior IPS officer Rajeev Kumar, the Calcutta high court on Friday snatched away the interim protection it had granted to him from arrest in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case. It also came down heavily on the former Kolkata Police Commissioner for his high-voltage allegations against the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of “targeting” him in the case.
The high court’s order, kept reserved after hearing of both sides’ arguments in the case ended on September 11, has left Mr Kumar in a tight spot. It has however come as a boost to the CBI which has been trying to prosecute him into the allegations against him of tampering evidence in the high-profile case when he headed the special investigation team (SIT) of the Mamata Banerjee government to probe the chit fund scam.
Within one and hours of the high court’s order, a two-member CBI team, armed with fresh summons, came knocking Mr Kumar's door in the afternoon at his official residence at 34 Park Street, guarded by the cops who were deployed by the Kolkata Police anticipating the central agency's arrival. They served the summons directing him to appear to face questionning at the CBI office in CGO Complex in Salt Lake on Saturday.
But the CBI could not find Mr Kumar, now the additional director general of police being the head of the criminal investigation department of the West Bengal Police, there. He is on leave, sources claimed. It is not clear if Mr Kumar would face the CBI again. The CBI could grill him in Saradha and Rose Valley scams many times in the past for his suspected role but only after the Supreme Court's order to him to cooperate with it.
This was not however the first time he went untraced when the CBI went to serve notice to him. The CBI is also not lagging behind. It has fanned out its teams across the city including the Kolkata Airport to know his whereabouts updating its every move to CBI headquarters in New Delhi. He may move the Supreme Court desperately to save himself from arrest by the CBI, sources indicated. But the scope of his fresh petition looks thin due to holidays on Saturday and Sunday at the apex court, sources added. In her order, Justice Madhumati Mitra observed that further extension of the interim protection to Mr Kumar would 'interfere' the CBI probe against Mr Kumar.
She rejected his allegations against the CBI of 'targeting' him calling them as 'unacceptable' since he collected evidence as a key SIT member for the probe.
Justice Mitra underlined that repeated questionning covers all types of investigation. Keeping the door ajar for Mr Kumar's arrest, she even ruled out of claims of damage of self-respect if anyone is arrested and kept in custody. Arrest may be required for a 'free and fair' investigation, the judge noted while pointing out that the petitioner's complaint of damage to his self-respect had no basis as questionning is necessary in any probe.