Ex-Kolkata police commissioner gets relief from arrest in chit fund scamDevdiscourse News Desk | New Delhi | Updated: 17-05-2019 19:51 IST | Created: 17-05-2019 13:29 IST
The Supreme Court Friday vacated its order granting protection from arrest to former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam case. The apex court said its February 5 order granting interim protection to Kumar will continue for seven days from Friday to enable him to approach the competent court for legal remedy.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the CBI to act in accordance with the law in the case. One of the advocates who appeared for the IPS officer said that as per the apex court order, Kumar cannot be arrested in the next seven days.
"We have withdrawn the protection given to Rajeev Kumar vide order dated February 5," the court said while pronouncing the order. The judgment was pronounced by Justice Sanjiv Khanna who was part of the bench headed by the CJI and Justice Deepak Gupta.
Pronouncing the operative part of the order, Justice Khanna said, "We are leaving it to the CBI to act in accordance with the law." "Our February 5 order will continue for seven days from today to enable Rajeev Kumar to approach the competent court for relief," he said.
At the outset, Justice Khanna, while pronouncing the order, said, "We have expressed our concern as to what has happened in the matter." The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the removal of Kumar, who was posted as Additional Director General, CID, in West Bengal for allegedly failing to control incidents of violence in the state and had asked him to report to the Union Home Ministry on Thursday.
Kumar was removed along with West Bengal's Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya after parts of Kolkata witnessed widespread violence during BJP president Amit Shah's massive roadshow in the city. Kumar was earlier heading the West Bengal Police's special investigation team (SIT) probing the chit fund scam. The apex court had in May 2014 directed the CBI to investigate the case.
The CBI had told the apex court that it wanted custodial interrogation of Kumar as there was prima facie evidence that he was allegedly trying to destroy or tamper with evidence and "shield high and mighty" in the case. The apex court, on February 5, had granted protection from arrest to Kumar while directing him to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the scam.
During the arguments on CBI's plea, the apex court had said it would examine whether there was evidence requiring Kumar's custodial interrogation in the case and had also perused the case diary placed before it by the agency. However, Kumar's counsel had countered CBI's submissions and told a bench headed by the CJI that the agency wanted his custodial interrogation "just to humiliate" he and CBI should not be allowed to abuse the process of law.
Kumar's counsel had told the bench that CBI's application seeking custodial interrogation of the IPS officer was a "mala fide exercise". The CBI had claimed in the court that they were seeking vacation of interim protection granted to Kumar as some crucial evidence, collected by the West Bengal Police SIT, was not shared with it despite repeated requests.
Kumar's counsel had argued that the IPS officer was interrogated by the CBI for almost 40 hours and the agency was not able to spell out clearly as to what was the offence committed by him for which they want his custodial interrogation.