Former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar has been given protection from arrest by the Calcutta High Court in the in the Saradha chit fund scam. The IPS officer is accused of destroying evidence related to the Ponzi scheme when he was heading the probe.
The case is "not fit for custodial interrogation", the court said today, adding that Mr Kumar must be given a 48 hour-notice before is summoned by the CBI for interrogation.
The CBI has given multiple notices to the 1989-batch officer to appear before it for questioning as a witness in the multi-crore chit fund scam. He, however, did not appear before the CBI and sought more time on every occasion.
The high court said that if the CBI arrests him, he will be given bail immediately on two sureties of Rs 50,000 each. Mr Kumar does not have the court's permission to leave Kolkata.
Rajeev Kumar is now posted in the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the West Bengal Police.
In February this year, a team of CBI officers was stopped from entering Mr Kumar's home in Kolkata when they had gone to question him in connection with the chit fund scam cases. The move had prompted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to go on a sit-in in the heart of the city against what she called was an "the attack on constitutional norms".
Over a week later, acting on the Supreme Court's order, the CBI questioned Mr Kumar for five days in Shillong. The top court had also ordered that no coercive action can be taken against Rajeev Kumar and he cannot be arrested.
The Saradha scam was a major financial fraud which lured lakhs of investors to deposit money in its schemes with glossy brochures and the promise of abnormally high returns. An official estimate says Saradha had mopped up about Rs. 1,200 crore through its chit funds, but some calculations put that the figure closer to Rs. 4,000 crore. The company collapsed in April 2013.
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