Saradha case: Ex-commissioner fails to turn up at CBI

Saradha case: Ex-commissioner fails to turn up at CBI

Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar did not turn up before the CBI on September 14 for questioning in connection with its probe into the Saradha scam, officials said.

Kumar is understood to have sought more time to appear before the investigating officer of the case, but that request is yet to be accepted by the probe agency, they said.

According to sources, the possibility of Kumar's arrest cannot be ruled out, but no final decision has been taken on it yet.

After the Calcutta High Court withdrew his protection from arrest, the probe agency on Friday served notice to Kumar asking him to appear before the investigating team on Saturday.

Kumar, who is currently the West Bengal CID Additional Director General, was part of a special investigation team set up by the state government to investigate the scam before the Supreme Court handed over the case to the CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases.

The Saradha group of companies allegedly duped lakhs of people to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rate of returns on their investments.

In May, the Supreme Court declined to entertain Kumar's petition seeking extension of protection from arrest in the multi-crore Saradha scam case.

He was granted protection from arrest on May 17 by the apex court for seven days and he had filed a fresh petition seeking to restrain the CBI from taking any coercive action against him.

However, a vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had said Kumar's plea was not "maintainable" as a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had already passed an order in the matter on May 17 and the IPS officer should not have filed a fresh writ petition.

The bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said that Kumar can personally approach the Calcutta High Court or the trial court seeking relief in the case.

But on Friday, the Calcutta High Court vacated its interim order granting the former police commissioner protection from arrest. The court also rejected Kumar's prayer for quashing of a CBI notice that sought his appearance for questioning in the case.

It refused to entertain his prayer that no coercive action be taken against him without the permission of this court. It said that Kumar's allegation that he was targeted and singled out for questioning by the CBI cannot be accepted, since other officers superior to him in the SIT were questioned.

Noting that Kumar has failed to substantiate that the CBI was summoning him for questioning to dent his reputation, the court observed that it should be the duty of every responsible officer to assist an investigation.