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THE West Bengal CID Tuesday issued fresh summons —- third in 10 days —- to Ruia Group chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia asking him to appear for questioning in connection with the repeated incidents of fire at the company’s Jessop factory in Dum Dum.
“He has been asked to appear before the CID team on Wednesday (November 2) for interrogation. The notice was sent to him on Monday,” DIG (CID) Bharat Lal Meena said.
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Earlier, Ruia twice failed to appear before the CID —- on October 26 and October 28. On the second date, he wrote to CID officials stating that he was “out of state on business tour” and sought two weeks’ time to appear before them. According to sources, Ruia is in Delhi.
The CID, however, is in no mood to give him any more time and has asked him to appear before the officials by 11 am Wednesday. As per the CID sleuths, giving two weeks’ time to Ruia would obstruct the pace of the investigation.
“This is third and perhaps the last opportunity for Ruia to appear before us and cooperate with the investigation. If he fails to show up, stern action will be taken,” an official who is part of the investigating team said.
Apart from Ruia, four senior officials who are part of Jessop’s management committee, have also been asked to appear for questioning. They are likely to be questioned together, the official said.
The investigating team wants to question Ruia and the senior officials why they did not ensure safety inside the factory premises at Dum Dum despite repeated incidents of fire.
The CID had first summoned Ruia to its headquarters on October 26, but he failed to appear. On the same day, the Calcutta High Court refused to quash the FIR in connection with the case in which Ruia is also named. Ruia had moved the High Court seeking quashing of the case filed against him, claiming he is not the chairman of Jessop and he is “neither the director nor a shareholder, or an occupier of Jessop and Co Ltd or any of its premises”. While refusing to stay the CID probe into the complaint against Ruia, the high court had asked police not to take any coercive measure against the industrialist so long as he cooperates with the sleuths.
After he failed to appear on October 28 too, the CID team had said they will issue a third notice and “on failure to respond even then, we will move court and seek arrest warrant against Ruia”.
A total of 16 people, including CEO of the firm Ashok Agarwal has been arrested in connection with the case. Agarwal was arrested by the Dum Dum police when during interrogation by the CID sleuths, it came to fore that he had 24 warrants pending against him.