Former Kolkata Commissioner of Police Rajeev Kumar on Friday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning in connection with the Saradha chit fund case, PTI reported.
He reached the CBI office at DF Block in Kolkata’s Salt Lake City around 10.30 am, reported News18. This is also the first time he is being questioned in Kolkata as earlier he was interrogated by the investigating agency in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong as per Supreme Court’s order.
Kumar’s questioning in the case was only possible after the Calcutta High Court on May 30 granted him one month’s protection from arrest. However, the court had listed some conditions that Kumar needs to follow in this period. It asked him to deposit his passport and cooperate with the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is seeking his custodial interrogation. The Central Bureau of Investigation will also check his presence at his home in the city’s Park Street locality everyday at 4 pm, the court added. He is also not allowed to step out of Kolkata. It had said the next hearing in the case will be on June 12.
He came for questioning just days after four trunks full of documents related to Saradha Scam were submitted at the CBI office in Kolkata, according to The Indian Express. Police claimed those documents were seized by the Special Investigation Team during initial days of investigation.
Earlier, Kumar had also moved the Calcutta High Court seeking to quash the summons issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning.
Kumar headed the Special Investigation Team set up by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to investigate the scam before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014. The agency wants to interrogate him as he reportedly gave evasive replies during questioning in Shillong in February. Kumar is accused of tampering with crucial evidence in the case.
On May 17, the top court lifted the interim protection from arrest granted to Kumar and gave him seven days to seek legal help. He approached the top court twice again but the court refused to set up a special bench to hear his petition, and asked him to approach courts in West Bengal or file an application before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation visited Rajeev Kumar’s home in Kolkata on then to serve him summons. After not finding him there, the officials went to the office of the deputy commissioner of police and instructed Kumar to appear at the CBI office in the city’s Salt Lake locality the next day. He did not appear for questioning.
Kumar is now additional director general of police and inspector general of police at the state’s Crime Investigation Department.
The Saradha company ran several ponzi schemes in West Bengal, allegedly defrauding lakhs of people. Thousands of crores of rupees were lost after the scheme collapsed in 2013. Its promoter Sudipta Sen was arrested the same year.