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Rediff.com  » News » Kolkata Police chief appears before CBI in Shillong for 3rd day

Kolkata Police chief appears before CBI in Shillong for 3rd day

February 11, 2019 14:30 IST

Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and former Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh on Monday appeared before the Central Bureau of Investigation in Shilong for questioning in connection with investigations in chit fund cases.

Photograph: PTI Photo

This is the third day of grilling for Kumar and the second for Ghosh.

Ghosh arrived at the CBI office shortly after 10 am while Kumar reached an hour later, an official said.

 

On Sunday, the probe agency questioned Kumar separately and also along with Ghosh. The marathon questioning of the two lasted over eight hours, he said.

The former Trinamool Congress MP was arrested in 2013 in the Saradha ponzi scam and has been out on bail since 2016.

The CBI is questioning the two in accordance with directions of the Supreme Court.

The Kolkata Police chief was quizzed for nearly nine hours on Saturday by three senior CBI officers about his alleged role in tampering of crucial evidence in the Saradha case, they said.

He was also examined in the Rose Valley case on Sunday.

Kumar-led the special investigation team formed by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to probe the Saradha scam before the case was handed over to the CBI by the apex court.

Officials in Delhi said the CBI has not acceded to Kumar's demand to have his questioning session videographed.

It is done only in cases of custodial interrogations, they said.

Ghosh earlier implicated BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was once the right hand man of Banerjee, and 12 others in the Saradha scam.

The Supreme Court directed Kumar on Tuesday to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam.

The court chose Shillong as a neutral meeting place "to avoid all unnecessary controversy" and made it clear that Kumar would not be arrested.

The CBI moved the Supreme Court after its officials were thwarted by the Kolkata Police when they had gone to Kumar's official residence in Kolkata to question him on February 3.

Banerjee had rushed to the spot and staged a three-day 'Save the Constitution' sit-in against the CBI move, accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah of plotting a "coup".

SS refuses to monitor CBI investigation into Saradha chit fund scam

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to monitor the ongoing CBI investigation into the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal.

A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna did not allow the application filed by some investors that despite the apex court's 2013 order directing the agency to probe the chit fund scam, the investigation has not attained finality.

"We are not inclined to set up a monitoring committee for the chit fund scam probe," the bench said.

The apex court in 2013 had transferred the probe into the scam to the CBI.

The top court had on February 5 directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the agency and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the chit fund scam, while it making it clear that he will not be arrested.

The CBI has alleged that Kumar, who was leading the SIT in the Saradha chit fund scam, destroyed and tampered with material evidence in the form of call detail records of the prime accused and potential accused.

The apex court had on February 4 taken strong note of allegations of tampering with evidence in the Saradha scam, saying, "If the police commissioner is even remotely trying to destroy evidence, we will come down so heavily on him that he will regret."

The court had also directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the director general of police (DGP) and the Kolkata police commissioner to file replies to the statements made in the contempt petition filed against them by the CBI on or before February 18.

On February 3, the CBI officials had gone to Kumar's residence in connection with the probe.

The agency also claimed that companies like Saradha, Rose Valley and Tower Group had given huge contributions to the Trinamool Congress.

Claiming that the SIT is under investigation as it was conniving with accused and potential accused to subvert the investigating process, the affidavit filed by CBI said there are a large number of hard discs and other material still in custody of Kumar which he had collected as an investigating officer, being the head of the SIT and being the functional head and day-to-day in-charge of SIT.

The CBI alleged that the entire material gathered by Kumar during the initial and crucial stage of investigation was not handed over to the agency which was entrusted with the investigation of the scam by the apex court on May 9, 2014.

The CBI said that while the SIT was conducting the investigation on the directions of the Kolkata high court, "crucial original, primary and fundamental evidence such as laptops, mobile phones etc.," were handed over to the main accused in the Saradha scam case by the IO of West Bengal Police working under direct supervision of Kumar.

The CBI said Kumar is prima facie guilty of having committed criminal offences and has not coordinated in spite of the summons being issued.

Further, the agency said that despite an FIR lodged in 2013 against Rose Valley, the SIT suppressed that fact which resulted in non-registration of a regular case by the CBI.

The CBI alleged the administration of the West Bengal government has exhibited non-cooperation and is preventing it from conducting a free and fair investigation.

It said that apart from the evidence which is already destroyed or tampered and the evidence which is in the process of being so destroyed or tampered, the very factum of local police detaining the personnel of the investigating agency discharging duty entrusted by the court, is serious enough for the top court to take cognisance of.

In the affidavit, the CBI narrated the entire incident in which the CBI personnel were taken into custody and the house of its joint director was seized to manifest that there is a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.

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