SC declines relief to WB ADG, facing arrest by CBI

SC declines relief to WB ADG, facing arrest by CBI

The Supreme Court on Friday declined a writ petition filed by West Bengal cadre IPS officer Rajeev Kumar, for extension of protection from arrest in the Saradha chit fund scam, until the strike by lawyers in the state was over.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Surya Kant said Kumar can approach the courts concerned in West Bengal, rejecting his counsel Sunil Fernandes' contention that the courts were shut due to lawyers strike since April 25.

"Your litigant is ADG, he knows the law better than many young lawyers. He can appear in person and argue. Trial courts and high court are functional over there," the bench said.

Kumar, former Kolkata police commissioner, is known as a close confidante of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She rushed to his residence on February 3 when the CBI sleuths wanted to question him. She subsequently sat on a protest and ended it on February 5 when the top court intervened and granted him protection from arrest.

The court was on Friday critical of the officer, presently attached to the Home Ministry here by the Election Commission before the last phase of general elections, for having filed a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution against the order passed by the bench presided over by CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

The court also questioned Kumar's counsel as to why he did not pursue the application filed on administrative side before the CJI for setting up the bench, which had passed the judgement on May 17. The court had then withdrew the protection from arrest on a plea by the CBI but suspended operation of the order for seven days.

"It was not proper for you, you got this case listed unknowingly as we allowed all mentioning," the bench said.

Kumar's seven-day interim protection from arrest granted by the top court on May 17 is ending on Friday.

He was arrested, as the CBI claimed he as head of the SIT, had tampered with the evidence and provided incomplete call detail records of the accused, when the central investigating agency took over the probe at the direction of the apex court on May 9, 2014.

The bench said the petition filed by Kumar was not maintainable.