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The Supreme Court today issued notice to former Kolkata Police top cop Rajeev Kumar in the Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to allow his arrest for his alleged involvement in the Saradha Chit Fund scam.
The CBI has moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Calcutta High court passed in October this year. The High Court had granted anticipatory bail to Kumar.
The Bench of CJI SA Bobde with Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant has now issued notice to Kumar in the CBI’s petition.
CJI Bobde, however, told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI, that the agency will have to convince the Court that Kumar’s custodial interrogation is necessary.
The Supreme Court had earlier this year withdrawn the interim protection afforded to Rajeev Kumar and had directed him to approach the appropriate courts in West Bengal to seek anticipatory bail.
The Apex Court today said that it was issuing notice to Kumar because “there is something about this person being absconding for a long time“.
The CBI has alleged Kumar’s involvement in the tampering of evidence collected during an investigation into the Saradha Chit Fund Scam. The probe was initially handled by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by Kumar. It is alleged that documents concerning payments made to elected public representatives had gone missing when the case was subsequently transferred to the CBI. In relation to the same, the CBI had sought to interrogate Kumar.
However, the issue assumed dramatic overtones in February this year, when a team of CBI officers landed up at Kumar’s doorstep to question him. In response, the Kolkata Police had restrained the CBI officers from entering Kumar’s bungalow and detained them at a police station. This led to the CBI moving the Supreme Court.
On February 5, the Court granted Kumar interim protection from arrest while directing him to cooperate with the CBI investigation. The order was passed by the Bench of then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
On May 17, the Bench withdrew the interim protection, although it had granted Kumar liberty to move the Calcutta High Court in this regard. To ensure that he is not arrested in the meanwhile, the Supreme Court had also ordered that his interim protection would continue for an additional seven days at the time. On May 30, the Calcutta High Court granted the former Kolkata Police Commissioner interim protection from arrest, subject to several conditions, including Kumar’s cooperation with the CBI in the investigation.