CBI Vs WB govt: SC refuses immediate hearing

CBI Vs WB govt: SC refuses immediate hearing

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to give an immediate hearing to the CBI on its plea for contempt actions against Kolkata police commissioner and others for putting up a strong resistance before the CBI sleuths in its probe into the Saradha Chit fund scam.

"We have gone through interlocutory application and contempt petition. There is nothing into it. Where is the material showing they tried to destroy evidence," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The court, however, put both the applications for hearing on Tuesday at 10.30 am.

Mehta, for his part, contended there was an extraordinary situation in Kolkata as the CBI office was laid seize of and family members of CBI Joint director were held hostage and the officers were arrested.

"We apprehend the evidence is being destroyed," he said.

Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar who is a potential accused sat on dharna with the political party, Mehta said.

The bench, however, pointed out the officers who were detained have already been released.

The officer insisted for hearing in the matter on Monday at 2 pm.

The court said the evidence were in electronic forms, even if those were destroyed, they can be retrieved easily.

"If you can point out any material that the officer even remotely tried to destroy evidence, we will come down heavily upon him," the court said.

The court allowed Mehta to put forth any additional material to buttress his charges during the course of the day. It put the matter for consideration on Tuesday, February 5.

The CBI contended that the state police was not cooperating in its probe initiated on directions by the top court on May 9, 2014 into the Saradha chit fund scam and other several other ponzi schemes.

Following unprecedented confrontation seen in Kolkata after the CBI sleuths tried to question Kolkata police commissioner on Sunday evening, the agency decided to approach the top court to seek further directions.

Notably, though the apex court handed over the investigation into the sonzi scheme scam to the CBI in 2014, it had subsequently refused to monitor the probe. The West Bengal government had later withdrawn the sanction from the CBI.

In its judgement directing the CBI probe due to the big scale of the scam, the court had said, "Needless to say that the
state police agencies currently investigating the cases shall provide the fullest cooperation to the CBI including
assistance in terms of men and material to enable the latter to conduct and complete the investigation expeditiously."

The court had noted that initial probe revealed involvement of political persons in the chit-fund scam that hit the people in West Bengal, Odisha and Assam as lakhs of people were duped through several ponzi schemes.

“Investigation by the state police in a scam that involves thousands of crores collected from the public allegedly because of the patronage of people occupying high positions in the system will hardly carry conviction especially when even the regulators who were expected to prevent or check such a scam appear to have turned a blind eye to what was going on,” the two-judge bench had said.