Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi tells Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before CBI on neutral ground — Shillong.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to cooperate with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its ongoing probe in the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi schemes. The top court also directed the CBI not to arrest or take any coercive action against Kumar.
The apex court bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, along with Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna also directed Kumar to appear before the CBI on neutral ground — Shillong — and fully cooperate with the investigation.
Acting on the CBI’s plea against Kumar, the top court issued a notice of contempt against him, the West Bengal chief secretary and the director general of police. They are expected to file their replies by 18 February, following which the SC will decide if they need to personally appear in court.
The probe agency had moved the Supreme Court Monday, accusing the Kolkata Police of scuttling the probe in the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi schemes. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had submitted that Kumar was destroying evidence pertaining to the scam.
Kumar had headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was probing the multi-crore scams that duped thousands. In May 2014, a bench comprising Justices T.S. Thakur and C. Nagappan had transferred the probe to the CBI after serious allegations of money laundering, political involvement and regulatory failures emerged.
‘Evidence being destroyed’
In an affidavit filed Monday evening, the CBI suggested that the SIT obstructed investigation and made attempts to destroy the evidence prior to the transfer of the case to the CBI.
It further submitted that during its investigation, it had collected incriminating material/correspondence against senior police officials as well as senior politicians which it wished to file in a sealed cover.
The CBI submitted the affidavit after the bench led by the CJI directed it to prove charges that Kumar was destroying evidence.
Politicians in power being shielded
The CBI further accused the SIT of suppressing the FIR that was registered against Rose Valley. This “inaction, selective action, police and chit fund nexus and the functioning of SIT was in fact used to shield the selective companies such as Shardha (sic), M/s Rose Valley and Tower Group etc., which have given huge contributions (even by way of cheques) to the party in power in the State of West Bengal”, it said.
“It is submitted that the said can be corroborated by documentary evidence in the form of cheque payments…” the CBI said.
Non-cooperation by Kumar and DGP
The probe agency further said that Kumar had been evading summons ever since it sent its first summons on 18 October 2017, it said in the affidavit.
It also accused West Bengal’s director general of police of conniving with Kumar.
“It is submitted that due to non-cooperation by Sh. Rajiv Kumar (sic), instead of taking any other action under CrPC, an intervention of Director General of Police, West Bengal was also solicited by CBI. Despite explicitly seeking the same, the DGP did not afford any meaningful help or assistance in pursuing the matter and requiring Sh. Rajiv Kumar to cooperate as the notices mentioned hereinabove,” the CBI said.
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