Former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar has skipped summons issued by the CBI on Sunday night and has sought three more days to appear before the agency officials in Kolkata in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, sources said.
He was summoned by the CBI at its Kolkata office at 10 am today after the Supreme Court on Friday last rejected his plea twice seeking more time to go to another court for protection from arrest.
The former Kolkata top cop, who has been posted in the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the West Bengal Police, is reportedly on a six-day leave.
Sources close to Rajeev Kumar told NDTV that the 1989-batch Indian Police Service officer is on leave and on a personal visit to Uttar Pradesh, which is why he sought more time from the CBI to join the probe.
Mr Kumar is also in the process of going to Barasat court in Kolkata to seek protection from arrest in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
"As of now Rajeev Kumar does not have protection against arrest from any court. He has also evaded the summons," a senior CBI officer told NDTV. "We will act as per our procedure now even if he goes to any court. Our legal team will be present in the court to oppose his plea," the CBI officer said.
Mr Kumar, who shared the stage with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a confrontation with the centre in February after CBI officials came knocking at his Kolkata home, cannot leave the country due to a look-out notice issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Supreme Court on Friday last turned down his request for extending the seven-day protection from arrest he was granted in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam.
The IPS officer is accused of destroying evidence related to the Ponzi scheme when he was heading the probe in West Bengal.
Ms Banerjee had in February staged a 70-hour sit-in protest after the CBI tried to question Mr Kumar at his residence in Kolkata, which was blocked by the local police. The CBI later had to approach the Supreme Court, which allowed the questioning in a different state but stopped the agency from arresting him. Now the cover of protection from arrest has been lifted.
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.