With his background as SIT chief for the chit fund case, Mr Kumar can offer the CBI useful insights into that scam.
In the CBI versus Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar case, which is tied up with the investigation into the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams spread across several states, the Supreme Court appears to have steered a middle course in its directions on Tuesday. However, the court could have done well to ask the CBI to also detail the steps it has taken so far in pursuing the ponzi scheme scams, apart from chasing after Mr Kumar, who had headed the West Bengal government’s SIT into the chit funds case, and alleging (as yet without offering any proof) that he sought to destroy electronic evidence in the case (presumably to please his political bosses) and was a “potential accused”.
In particular, what steps has the CBI taken in the case of two prominent politicians — Mukul Roy and Himanta Biswa Sarma — who defected to the BJP to deflect the agency’s attention?
The Supreme Court has restrained the by-now discredited investigative agency from taking coercive steps — including arrest — against Mr Kumar. Simultaneously, it has directed the senior IPS officer to present himself to be questioned by the CBI in the “neutral” venue of Shillong (and not BJP-ruled Assam).
With his background as SIT chief for the chit fund case, Mr Kumar can offer the CBI useful insights into that scam. His cooperation could have been easily obtained when in August 2018 the West Bengal director-general of police had invited the CBI to have an interaction with Mr Kumar (who became Kolkata’s police commissioner in 2016) and other officers associated with the SIT.
But the agency had apparently been uninterested. It was more focused on pulling in the Kolkata police commissioner under Section 106 CrPC, typically used to compel witnesses to appear. Mr Kumar thought the use of this clause against an officer in his position was motivated.
Evidently, the Centre hasn’t given up gunning for Mr Kumar. Shortly after the court restrained the CBI from making coercive moves against the police commissioner on Tuesday, the Union home minister directed the West Bengal government to proceed against the senior officer on the ground of violation of conduct of service rules.
Why such a direction was necessary is not clear. Mr Kumar sat for some time in a chair in the same space where chief minister Mamata Banerjee began her dharna on Sunday evening. Can this be construed as political affiliation? If so, then no police chief can be seen around a CM when the latter is engaging in any kind of political activity.
While the immediate impasse involving the CBI and the police commissioner has somehow been overcome by the Supreme Court order, the nationwide political confrontation triggered by the apparent misuse of the CBI in the police commissioner case is regretfully nowhere near resolution.