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The engineer-cop who tracked down mastermind behind one of India’s biggest Ponzi schemes

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Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar is known to be an ‘honest’ police officer, but also has a reputation for following his master’s voice, no matter what.

Kolkata: Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s friends and former colleagues call him “polite”, “decent”, and “the smartest, most tech-savvy police officer in Bengal”. That last one is no surprise, considering he holds a degree in engineering from IIT Roorkee.

Most importantly, in the context of the recent events which have shaken up West Bengal and the entire country, they call him “honest”.

An IPS officer who was once Kumar’s boss told ThePrint: “He was one of the cleanest members of my team, and extremely upright.”

It is also said of Kumar that he is something of an ‘Eklavya’ — a die-hard follower of his master’s voice, no matter what, and no matter who the master may be. Currently, his boss is Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Banerjee and members of her Trinamool Congress party, including MPs, MLAs and ministers, have been under the CBI scanner for alleged involvement in the multi-crore Sarada and Rose Valley Ponzi scams.

Incidentally, it was Kumar — the commissioner of Bidhannagar Police at the time — who had tracked down the mastermind of the Ponzi schemes, Sudipto Sen, when he was on the run. He subsequently headed the Special Investigation Team put in charge of the case, until the CBI was asked to take over the case in 2014.

However, the CBI claims Kumar destroyed key evidence related to the scams.

Also read: CBI’s Saradha scam probe is not being monitored by Supreme Court

Questions on timing

The scandal erupted in the Trinamool Congress’ face in April 2013, barely two years after it dethroned the Left in a high-profile election and swept to power. Since then, the opposition — the BJP in particular — has repeatedly brought up the names of Trinamool leaders Madan Mitra, Mukul Roy and Banerjee herself in speeches.

From Narendra Modi to Amit Shah to one-time Bengal in-charge Siddharth Nath Singh, BJP leaders have used the phrases ‘bhaag Madan bhaag’ (run Madan run), ‘bhaag Mukul bhaag’ and even ‘bhaag Mamata bhaag’ to launch their attacks against Banerjee’s government and its alleged involvement in Ponzi schemes.

The CBI subsequently arrested Mitra, followed by other top Trinamool leaders, including MPs Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul.

But the CBI’s sudden decision to go after the less visible members of Banerjee’s administration has raised questions, especially about the timing.

“With barely a month to go before elections are announced, the CBI’s attempt to crack down on the state police force is clearly intended to cripple the law and order situation in the state,” said a Trinamool leader.

“If you see the CBI as a tool with which the ruling parties at the Centre harass rivals, as it has often been accused of, it serves to create public distaste, especially before elections.”

Also read: Congress backs Mamata over face-off with CBI, says Modi-Shah using agency as ‘election agents’

CBI’s allegations

But the CBI claims that Kumar is not clean. He was put in charge of probing the scam in 2013, before the CBI finally took over in 2014, after several rounds of litigation by political rivals of the Trinamool.

Sources told ThePrint that mastermind Sen had said during interrogation that he used to keep a diary in which he recorded every single financial dealing. That diary — red and hardbound — has gone missing.

Sources claim it was only when the CBI was given charge of the interrogation that there was a scurry to remove the documents.

“The documents were kept in a locker in a bank, and when the CBI went to recover the papers they were told that the former investigators had taken them away just hours back,” a source said.

The Trinamool Congress and the state government have denied these charges. Banerjee is on a sit-in protest demanding that CBI stop the political vendetta. But the CBI says that it will not stop until it finds the missing papers.

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  1. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist, Barnala(Punjab)
    Timing of CBI team’s action is ironically indeed the ” DEVIL” !

    Almost five years is a big span ! Does not it speak volumes
    of the promptness and smartness of the CBI- the premier
    investigation agency of the nation ?

    Why did the CBI soft pedal and slept over the matter for so long?
    The efficiency of the CBI too is under the cloud that it could not
    get response of Mr.Rajeev Kumar- a senior IPS officer to its summons
    despite the Apex Court directions !

    Is not the nation’s polity at its wits end to dig out TRUTH and
    keep in tact the law of the land fairly and objectively ?

    For almost half a dozen months, the investigative and intelligence
    agencies did falter and fail in mustering evidence in a sensitive case
    of a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Modi ! The alleged
    accused have been languishing in jails for months together !

    For almost three years, the Delhi Police struggled and grappled quite
    unsuccessfully to file a chargesheet against Mr.Kanhaiya Kumar
    a former Chief of JNU Students Union and others implicated in
    a 2016 case of sedition !

    The legal system is a victim of twists and turns ! No body knows when
    set procedure and crystal clear law is allowed to either mark time or
    sleep endlessly turning it meaningless whimsically ?

    For want of national spirit,political parties and its leaders are fighting like
    cats and dogs just as sworn enemies ! This evil is infact infecting the
    institutions and its functionaries resulting in tugs of war between law
    enforcing agencies dancing to the tunes of his masters/mistresses’ voices !

    The latest Mr.Rajeev Kumar-CBI saga bears testimony to the fact that Kolkata
    Police Commissioner and a senior IPS Officer is a clear cut case of political
    witch-hunting and vendetta to gain political mileage when Lok Sabha Polls
    2019 are just at hand !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala (Punjab)

  2. Sad part about this is nobody is talking about or representing the People who got cheated in this Ponzi scheme.. The Political Tamasha goes on the Public suffers

  3. An IPS officer with thirty years’ unblemished service understands discipline and duty. He could have been interviewed on a Monday morning in his office, rather than at home on Sunday evening. Even if such a visit became imperative, a single responsible official of SP rank could have met him. This is not a Colombian druglord with a private army who needs forty heavily armed law enforcement officers to subdue him.

  4. Despite this writer’s transparent attempt to side with Mamata, the writer also digs the grave of Rajeev Kumar by stating that he follows his boss blindly. These officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution of India, not follow the political bosses blindly; the latter is criminal, for which he needs to be prosecuted.

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