Saradha scam: Calcutta HC extends interim protection from arrest granted to Rajeev Kumar by one week
Justice Madhumati Mitra extended the protection from arrest and coercive action for a week or until further orders.
The Calcutta High Court on Monday extended the interim protection granted to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar by one week, PTI reported. The Central Bureau of Investigation is investigating Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.
Justice Madhumati Mitra extended the protection from arrest and coercive action for a week or until further orders. On July 2, the court had extended Kumar’s interim protection from arrest till July 22.
Kumar had also moved the court and sought the quashing of the CBI notice to him in May that had asked him to appear before the agency to assist in the probe. The agency is slated to put forward its arguments on Tuesday.
Kumar’s counsel Milan Mukherjee had last week alleged before the High Court that the CBI was indulging in a pick-and-choose game by summoning him in the case out of the 121 officers of the Special Investigation Team that looked into the fraud case. Kumar was in charge of the team, which that investigated the Saradha scam before the Central Bureau of Investigation took over the probe.
Kumar is at present the additional director general (Criminal Investigation Department) of West Bengal Police.
Last month, the court had refused to advance the hearing of the CBI’s plea against Kumar. The counsel for the investigating agency had said that the early disposal of Kumar’s application to quash the agency’s notice would help in speeding up investigation into the multi-crore-rupee scam.
On June 7, Kumar appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation for questioning in connection with the Saradha chit fund case. It was the first time he had been questioned in Kolkata as he was earlier interrogated by the investigating agency in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong in February as per a Supreme Court order.
Kumar’s interrogation was possible after the Calcutta High Court on May 30 granted him one month’s protection from arrest. However, the court had listed certain conditions that Kumar needed to follow during this period. He was asked to deposit his passport and cooperate with the CBI, which is seeking his custodial interrogation.
The agency wants to interrogate him as he reportedly gave evasive replies during questioning in Shillong. Kumar is accused of tampering with crucial evidence in the case. He had 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 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.