Saradha: SC removes protection to Kolkata ex-top cop

Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar

The Supreme Court on Friday expressed its “disappointment and dismay” and called the situation as grim as the CBI and the West Bengal police were pitted against each other and embroiled in a feud in the ongoing probe into the multi-thousand crore Saradha chit fund scam case.

The top court said both the CBI and WB police have forgotten that the primary purpose and role of the police is to investigate crime, collect evidence and prosecute the offenders.

“Both sides have hardened their stand and there is no administrative mechanism in place to avoid and resolve such conflicts between the two wings of the police force in the country. At the receiving end are silently waiting lakhs of small town and rural investors who have been deprived and looted of their savings,” it said.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said, “With regret, we acknowledge and accept that despite orders and words of advice, antagonism and acrimony has escalated and not ebbed.”

On Friday, the court withdrew its protection from arrest granted to controversial West Bengal IPS officer ADG Rajeev Kumar on February 5, on a plea by the CBI alleging tampering with the evidence, including call details records.

“We had attempted to resolve the controversy. This, however, has not worked out,” it said.

The CBI alleged Kumar who headed state SIT to probe the scam did not hand over entire call detail records including a diary seized from accused Debjani Mukherjee containing a record of day-to-day transactions, when the investigation was entrusted to it as per the apex court's order of May 09, 2014.

After Kumar, then Kolkata police commissioner, failed to respond to several notices, the CBI sleuths reached his residence on February 3 but they faced stiff resistance from the state police. The issue subsequently snowballed into a big controversy with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lending her support to the 1989-batch officer. She also sat on a dharna.

The CBI approached the top court, which directed Kumar to “fully cooperate” and appear before it at a neutral place in Shillong for interrogation. But the central probe agency was restrained from arresting him.

The court, however, said the interim protection would continue for seven days to enable Kumar to exhaust his legal remedies. The court also clarified that its order would not
be a ground to accept or reject the request of custodial interrogation or grant of protection.

Notably, Kumar was on Wednesday removed by the Election Commission following the arson and violent clashes during BJP president Amit Shah's roadshow a day before. He was attached with the Union Home Ministry.
 

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