Former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar Friday appeared before the CBI in the multi-crore Sarada Ponzi Scam case. This is the first time he is being questioned in Kolkata. Earlier he was grilled by a special team of CBI at a “neutral Place” in Shillong as per Supreme Court’s order.
Kumar was being chased by CBI for a while in the matter, and his appearance was only made possible after Calcutta High Court granted him one month’s protection from arrest. Kumar is safe from any “coercive action” till July 10 as per the court’s order. The Court had also asked him to cooperate with CBI investigation.
Directing that Kumar will not be able to stay anywhere other than his official residence in Kolkata, except in case of medical necessities, the court also said a CBI representative will come to his residence every day to record his presence.
Kumar appears just days after four trunks full of documents related to Saradha Scam were submitted at CGO complex. Bengal police claimed those are the documents seized by SIT during initial days of investigation. Kumar had claimed in Siliguri that he was not involved in the day to day development of the case as he had a lot of other responsibilities as Commissioner of Bidhannagar area, sources in CBI claimed. While on the other hand most of the officers who were part of SIT revealed before CBI that they were following instructions of Kumar and Arnab Ghosh during the investigation of the case. Ghosh, Special Superintendent of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), was one of the members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that initially probed the scam.
While Kumar has been reinstated as ADG (CID), Arnab Ghosh is Special Superintendent of CID. CBI earlier wanted custodial interrogation of Kumar, a 1989 IPS officer who was heading the Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the case before the CBI took over.
In January, the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee government had an unprecedented stand-off after a CBI team reached Kumar’s residence to question him. The CBI officers had to retreat after local police refused to let them enter his residence and detained them. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threw her weight behind Kumar and sat on a three-day dharna to protest against the Centre’s move.