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Substantial material against Kolkata Police Commissioner, CBI tells SC

Law Crime

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

CBI Monday alleged in the Supreme Court that it has found "substantial material" against Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case but he was not cooperating in the investigation and ignoring the summons.

Narrated the sequence of events of Sunday evening in which its sleuths were rounded up by the West Bengal police, CBI said it was seeking a direction for Kumar to immediately surrender and make himself available before it for investigation into the scam.

CBI said Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee along with the DGP, additional commissioner of police sat on dharna or sit-in at around 10 pm Sunday in Kolkata and as such a conduct by the officials in uniform points to "complete anarchy prevailing in Kolkata and West Bengal".

The agency justified its action to reach the residence of Kumar saying it has substantial material to exercise its power of arrest without warrant and the Commissioner of Police is bound to comply with law of the land.

The application of the agency which came for perusal before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, said the CBI approached the apex court in view of unprecedented events which took place on Sunday and are ongoing in Kolkata.

CBI said it was investigating the cases arising out if Saradha scam "under hostile environment and non-cooperation from the West Bengal government and its agencies/departments".

It submitted that though there has been non cooperation from the state government, the CBI has been conducting the investigation diligently.

In the Saradha scam, savings of lakhs of poor people of Eastern India, primarily from West Bengal were swindled by the Saradha Group.

The agency further said that "disturbing developments" have forced it to approach the apex court seeking appropriate directions.

The CBI in its application referred to the contempt petitions and other petitions filed in 2015 and 2017 in which issue of non-cooperation by the state government was brought.

The agency said that it was conducting investigation as per the direction of the apex court and has found substantial material against the Police Commissioner of Kolkata for which it sent summons to him.

It is submitted that such summons were not responded to properly and it also alleged that the police commissioner has been found to be destroying evidence pertaining to the case," it said.

The CBI further said that non cooperation by Kumar was brought to the notice of the West Bengal DGP but in fragrant violation of the Rule of law, directives of the apex court and the Constitution itself neither the DGP acted upon it nor the Kolkata police commissioner cooperated.

The agency said when the state police had surrounded the CBI office late Sunday evening, it did not permit even CBI officers to enter the office to collect relevant documents of the case.

In effect, the West Bengal police had laid siege around CBI office Kolkata' it said, adding, it is most unfortunate that elected head of the state along with DGP and other officers of the state who were obliged to cooperate with CBI have openly flouted the order a passed by this court.

Further, it submitted that such conduct on part of persons, who were involved, defies the basic principles of rule of law and completely directed towards illegally influencing CBI's investigation which was undergoing as per direction of apex court.

While narrating the sequence of events of February 3, the agency said its 25 officials went to the residence of Kolkata police commissioner late in the afternoon and was merely discharging its mandate given by the apex court.

It said a glaring example of breakdown of constitutional machinery happened in the state as the CBI officials were not only prevented from acting in furtherance of the apex court direction but were also taken in, grounded up and illegally confined.

The mobile phones of these officers were snatched by the West Bengal state police personnel and CBI officials were kept in illegal confinement at the police station.

It is submitted that in a brazen, unconstitutional and contemptuous act striking at the very root of the Constitution, West Bengal's local police laid a siege around the official residence of Pankaj Shrivastava , joint director CBI.

Shrivastava , his wife and daughter were inside the house and went through intense trauma and humiliation at the hands of West Bengal police, it said.

While one English TV channel telephonically came in contact with Shrivastava, the higher officials of the CBI were in the interregnum were unable to be in touch with Shrivatava and his family who were virtually kept hostage.

"It is submitted that CBI has substantial material to exercise its power of arrest without warrant and the commissioner of police is bound to comply with law of the land," the agency said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, February 04 2019. 21:10 IST