Top Court Asks CBI For Proof After It Seeks Custody Of Ex-Kolkata Top Cop

The CBI had said it needs to take former Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar into custody to question him about the finer details of the Saradha chit fund scam.

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Top Court Asks CBI For Proof After It Seeks Custody Of Ex-Kolkata Top Cop

Rajeev Kumar is accused of destroying evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam.


New Delhi: 

The Supreme Court today asked the CBI to show evidence for seeking custodial interrogation of former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar for his alleged role in destroying evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal when he was heading the probe.

The probe agency had said it needs to take Mr Kumar into custody to question him about the finer details of the case. The Central Bureau of Investigation said it will come up with evidence by tomorrow.

Mr Kumar was heading a special investigation team that was looking into the chit fund scam. The CBI told the court a number of evidence linked to the case has gone missing.

Today, a top court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to satisfy it that its request for seeking custodial interrogation of Rajeev Kumar was bonafide and was in interest of justice.

The bench asked the CBI to bring evidence to satisfy it that the police officer was even remotely involved in destruction or disappearance of evidence in the chit fund case.

"How did he not co-operate with you. Justify it. If we are convinced, we will order custodial interrogation," Chief Justice Gogoi told the agency.

The CBI said when Mr Kumar was proving the chit fund scam, the police handed over four mobile phones and a lap top to the accused, amounting to destruction of evidence.The agency said the Bengal police handed over only two months' call records related to the case.

The CBI told the top court that Saradha group chief Sudipto Sen's TV channel, Tara TV, got Rs. 6.21 crore from the West Bengal Chief Minister's Relief Fund. The Chief Secretary said the payment was made as per orders of the high court.

On February 3, 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.

Mr Kumar was transferred to the Crime Investigation Department (CID).

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.

(With inputs from PTI)



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