The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to cooperate with the Central Bureau of Investigation in its inquiry into two chit fund scam cases, the Hindustan Times reported.
The court said no coercive steps, including arrest, can be taken against the police officer but issued contempt notice to Kumar, Director General of Police Virendra and the West Bengal government, and asked them to file replies by February 18.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is sitting on a dharna against the CBI’s attempts to question Rajeev Kumar, hailed the court order as a “moral victory” for her government. “We have great respect for judiciary and all institutions,” she added. “We are so grateful. We are so obliged.” Kumar is likely to meet the CBI officers in Shillong since it is a neutral venue.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, claimed that the top court’s order was a “moral victory for the CBI” instead, ANI reported. He pointed out that lakhs of small investors had been cheated. “Is it not our moral obligation to conduct an investigation?” he asked. “Why is Mamata ji silent on this? Why are the other political parties silent on this?”
He said the Supreme Court has allowed the CBI to investigate “the conspiracy angle and also money laundering angle”. He called for a fair inquiry into the matter and urged parties not to politicise it.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya accused Mamata Banerjee of putting “democracy in peril” in West Bengal. “Someone occupying a constitutional post is violating the federal structure of the country,” Maurya told PTI. “This certainly does not augur well for the democracy of the country.”
On Sunday, Banerjee started the “Save the Constitution” protest at Esplanade in Kolkata after accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah of plotting a coup. The chief minister claimed that the CBI’s move to question Rajeev Kumar, who is accused of destroying evidence in the two chit fund cases, was an attack on the country’s federal structure. Banerjee alleged that Modi and Shah had teamed up to humiliate West Bengal in retaliation for the meeting of 23 Opposition parties she organised in Kolkata on January 19.