Sharada scam: CBI makes “very, very serious” allegations against Kolkata’s ex-police chief and Mamata Banerjee close aide Rajeev Kumar before SC

The CBI status report reveals “something very, very serious”, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday perusing the document filed by the agency in connection with the questioning of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar in the Saradha chit fund case.

“The CBI status report against former Kolkata police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar reveals something very, very serious,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The court directed Kumar to reply within 10 days on the status report, which was filed in a sealed cover.

“We will later determine the charges and counter-charges after hearing both the sides,” it said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved an application seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against various senior officials of the West Bengal government, including the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) and Kumar on the grounds of alleged non-cooperation in its probe and destruction of evidence in the case.

Last month, the top court had asked the investigating agency to file an affidavit giving details about its claim that Kumar had tampered with evidence in the chit fund scam.

The apex court had said that it was not satisfied with the oral submissions made by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the allegation and sought an affidavit.

The bench had pointed out that according to CBI, the evidence tampering took place in June 2018 and asked the agency why it approached the court only in February 2019 after the incident of February 3 when a CBI arrived at Kumar’s residence to question him in connection with the case.

The counsel for CBI had told the bench that the agency sought the documents from the service providers and these were received only in November 2018.

On this, Chief Justice Gogoi had asked, “If what you are saying is correct, don’t you think it is serious enough for you to take the court into confidence? If it is true, this is subversion of the rule of law and you are coming to the court only after the incident of that evening.”

In its last affidavit, CBI said there is a “larger conspiracy between highly placed state authorities and the companies under investigation” in the scam.

The affidavit also said communication between CBI and state authorities show that there had been a “concerted effort to evade, avoid and to escape” the process of law and a conscious effort on part of the authorities to scuttle the investigation.

CBI had filed the contempt plea in the apex court against the three officers for alleged wilful and deliberate violation of top court orders.

The plea was filed after an unprecedented chain of event on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when they reached Kumar’s residence. Later, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited his residence. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and released later.