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Saradha case: Calcutta HC directs CBI not to take "coercive step" against Rajeev Kumar for a month


ANI General News
The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed that "no coercive step" be taken against former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for a month by the CBI in Saradha chit fund scam case.
Kumar had earlier in the day moved a plea in the court seeking quashing of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) notice that had asked him to appear before the agency in connection with the case.
While accepting Kumar's plea, a vacation bench of Justice PP Banerjee asked the police officer to deposit his passport and cooperate with the agency in the investigation.
Kumar was also instructed by the court to not go outside Kolkata. Justice Banerjee directed CBI officials to visit the former Kolkata police chief's residence every day at 4 PM to mark his attendance.
The matter is slated to be heard again on June 12.
Kumar, who is accused of tampering with evidence in the multi-crore Saradha scam, was summoned on May 26 by the probe agency to appear before it at 10 am the next day.
He failed to appear and wrote a letter to the agency saying he was on leave.
A Look-Out Notice was issued against Kumar by the agency even as CBI officials claimed that they were unaware of his whereabouts. Airports and land ports were alerted and officials were asked not to allow him to leave the country.
He had earlier headed the West Bengal Police's Special Investigation Team (SIT) that probed the case.
The CBI, in its plea before the Supreme Court, had sought permission for custodial interrogation of Kumar for his alleged role in destroying evidence in the case. It had said that there was prima facie evidence against him of "trying to destroy or tamper with evidence and shield high and mighty".
The CBI had also argued that Kumar's custodial interrogation was required to probe the larger conspiracy to unravel the nexus between directors of Saradha Group and politicians, apart from his and other police officials' role in causing disappearance and destruction of evidence.
The agency had claimed that Kumar did not disclose any crucial information he was privy to.
On May 24, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea filed by Kumar seeking an extension of the seven-day period granted to him to approach a competent court for protection from arrest.
On May 29, CBI officials had told ANI that they were making a strong case against Kumar to counter his plea for anticipatory bail. "The CBI would continue to summon and question suspects and accused in the case," they had said.
On the same day, the CBI questioned senior Kolkata Police officer Arnab Ghosh with regard to the chit fund scam case.
It had summoned Ghosh, a former Deputy Commissioner (Detective Department) of Bidhannagar Commissionerate, and another senior police official Dilip Hazra for questioning at its Kolkata office. Hazra, however, did not appear before the agency.
An unprecedented chain of events unfolded on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when it reached Kumar's residence to question him. It was followed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's visit to the officer's home. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and later released.

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First Published: May 30 2019 | 10:27 PM IST

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