SC says no arrest for Kolkata top cop, but asks to appear before CBI in Shillong, issues contempt notice

Legal News, Nation, (New Delhi), February 5:-The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI but ruled that no coercive action, including arrest, can be taken against him for now, prompting West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to call it a “moral victory”.

Saying that she was grateful to the SC, Mamata claimed that Rajeev Kumar never said he was not available and the two parties should meet at a mutually agreed place. She said Kumar had written five letters to the CBI, saying that he was available for a meeting. “But what they started doing? They went to his house to arrest him. The court has said no arrest.”

The investigative agency filed additional documents in the court to back up its claim that he had destroyed evidence related to the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams. In the documents, the CBI states that the role of Kolkata’s police chief was being investigated as the SIT formed to probe the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams had protected these companies as they had made contributions to the Trinamool Congress.

Arguing on behalf of the CBI, attorney general KK Venugopal says that contributions made to TMC by the chit fund firms were made via cheques. The A-G has sought permission to furnish the documentary evidence against the Kolkata police chief in a sealed cover. Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for West Bengal, said the CBI’s attempt to search the top cop’s home was is a bid to harass and humiliate him. “There’s no FIR against Rajeev Kumar. He received three notices in last four years. After 23/10/17, he was sent a notice only on 4/12/18,” he told the court.

But the CJI, rejecting his arguments, said there should be no problem in the police chief appearing before the CBI for questioning. The court posted the matter for February 20, when the contempt plea against the West Bengal’s chief secretary, DGP and the Kolkata top cop will also be taken up.

The SIT referenced in the CBI documents was headed by police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, for whom West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has gone on a dharna. The documents, filed before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, allege a nexus between the police and the chit fund firms. CJI Ranjan Gogoi had warned on Monday the court “will come down heavily on him (Kolkata police commissioner) if there’s any material to show evidence is sought to be destroyed.”

Allegedly, these schemes were being run without necessary regulatory approvals and collected nearly Rs 20,000 crore from lakhs of investors in West Bengal and neighbouring states, through what is commonly known as ‘chit funds’. “Today you are labelling those who helped arrest the culprits as thieves. You are calling Rajeev Kumar (Kolkata Police Commissioner) a thief! Whose money has he taken? You are calling me a thief! Whose money have I taken? If you are labelling people who are honest as thieves without any evidence, then I will definitely stand by their side. And for that if I need to give up my life, then I am ready to do that but I will not compromise,” she asserted.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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