- Sources said they didn't see Rajeev Kumar since he left office on Friday.
- CBI officials said they may arrest him if he continues to "evade" them.
- The top cop was involved in probing the Saradha and Rose Valley cases.
The Mamata Banerjee government vehemently denied today that the chief of Kolkata Police, wanted for questioning by the Central Bureau of Investigation, has gone missing. Tweeting that the officer had been attending office and had taken leave only for a day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also apologised to the Election Commission, which asked the government why the officer did not show up for a meeting on last week.
Rajeev Kumar was wanted for questioning in several Ponzi scams that had surfaced in Bengal a few years ago.
He had headed the special investigation team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley scams that surfaced in 2013. He and a few other officers were asked to help with the investigation when several key documents allegedly went missing.
Over the last two years he had received several summons for questioning, CBI sources said.
The ruling Trinamool Congress has accused the BJP of engineering the trouble. Party sources said it started just after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked Ms Banerjee at his public rallies in Bengal and she responded vigorously.
In a series of tweets, Ms Banerjee today pointed a finger at the "highest levels of the BJP leadership".
The highest levels of the BJP leadership are doing the worst kind of political vendetta. Not only are political parties their targets, they are misusing power- Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 3, 2019
to take control of the police and destroy all institutions. We condemn this 1/2
The Kolkata Police Commissioner is among the best in the world. His integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned. He is working 24x7, and was on leave for only one day recently. When you spread lies, the lies— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 3, 2019
will always remain lies 2/2
"It's a small matter," she later said. "But if it has offended the Election Commission, I apologise". Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had expressed displeasure last week during a press conference and said he had asked for an explanation from Mr Kumar's controlling authority.
The Kolkata Police also denied that the officer was not at his post. "...Kolkata Police condemns and denies such baseless news. Please take note that not only is the CP Kolkata available in the city, but has also been attending office on a regular basis, with the exception of 31.1.19, when he was on leave for a day," a statement from the police read.
The CBI versus state police issue went to court, with the CBI alleging that the state police was obstructing the investigations. The case will come up for hearing at the Calcutta High Court later this month, sources said, adding that may be one of the reasons why there seems to be an attempt to drum up controversy over the issue now.
Another case went to the Supreme Court after the state police issued summons to the CBI officers investigating the case. During a hearing in July, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and SA Abdul Nazeer said, "This is a sorry state of affairs. We are not happy with it. Whoever is the culprit needs to be booked. It should not be the case that investigating agencies are siding with the accused."