With former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar eluding the CBI, which has been looking for him in connection with the Saradha chit fund case, the central probe agency has set up a special 12-member team to track the IPS officer, currently on leave. According to the CBI sources, the team comprises two SP-rank officers, apart from ASP and DSP-rank officials.
Since Friday when the Calcutta High Court rejected Kumar’s appeal, thereby lifting the protection of arrest from him, the CBI has been looking for the officer to interrogate him in custody.
The CBI has accused Kumar of tampering with evidence when he had headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the West Bengal government in 2013, to probe the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam. The CBI, which began probing the case on the direction of the Supreme Court, is seeking Kumar’s custodial interrogation, alleging that certain documents seized by the SIT during its investigation were not handed over to the central agency.
The Saradha group of companies had allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of returns on their investments.
Since Friday, the CBI has repeatedly sent the summons to Kumar and also sent letters to the West Bengal government seeking information of the officer’s whereabouts. Kumar, currently serving as Additional Director General of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), is on a leave from September 9 to 25, according to the state government officials.
CBI sources said that Kumar’s cellphone is switched off, making it difficult to contact or track him.
The CBI’s decision to form a special team to track Kumar comes a day after two courts in North 24 Parganas disposed of the IPS officer’s petitions seeking anticipatory bail. Both the courts said that Kumar’s petition was not “maintainable” as they do not have the jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Kumar’s lawyers submitted a petition with Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Alipore court, pleading that the court should not pass a direction or issue warrant without hearing out Kumar’s stand.
A war of words continued between the Trinamool Congress and the Opposition over the issue.
BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya accused the TMC government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of shielding Kumar and linked it with the CM’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Trinamool Congress hit back, saying that the BJP leader was “talking rubbish”. “Only time will tell who is guilty and who is not,” Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said.