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New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to ex-Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on a CBI plea seeking his arrest and custodial interrogation in the Saradha scam.
The scam was uncovered in 2013 during Kumar’s tenure as Bidhannagar Police Commissioner.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, "You have to convince us on why his arrest is necessary, as he is a high-ranking officer."
Mehta, appearing for CBI, submitted that Kumar’s arrest was required as CBI has gathered evidence to establish he had either suppressed vital evidence connected to the scam or destroyed the evidence to shield somebody. According to CBI Kumar is absconding.
Lakhs of people were cheated in the scam to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore on the false promise of higher returns on investments. The Special Investigation Team set up by West Bengal government included Kumar. Later, the apex court transferred the investigation into the scam to the CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases.
The Calcutta High Court ordered if the CBI were to arrest Kumar then he would have to be released immediately on bail on two sureties of Rs 50,000 each. The court observed Kumar had extended cooperation during the investigation, and said that it was not an appropriate case for custodial interrogation.
A trial court on September 21 rejected Kumar’s pre-arrest bail plea. Since May this year, the CBI has issued multiple notices asking him to appear for questioning in the scam.
In May, the apex court had agreed to hear Kumar’s plea seeking extension on protection from arrest in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
The apex court had observed: "We would withdraw the protection given to Rajeev Kumar, former Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, vide our order dated February 05, 2019 restraining the CBI from arresting him and thereby, leave it open to the CBI to act in accordance with the law."
The court, however, granted seven days to Kumar to take appropriate legal remedies. "At the same time, we direct that the interim order dated February 05, 2019 would continue for a period of seven days from the date of pronouncement of this order to enable Kumar to approach competent court for relief, if so advised," said the court.
The CBI has accused Kumar of destruction of evidence in the scam, but the court noted that there is no FIR registered against Kumar.