Tuesday, 23 April 2019

No Arrest for Kolkata Top Cop Mamata hails ruling as vindication of her stand

Rajeev Kumar Must ‘Faithfully’ Cooperate With CBI, Rules Supreme Court

New Delhi, Feb 5: The Supreme Court has on Tuesday directed Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar to make himself available before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate with the agency in investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams probe.

The court said Kumar will appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation at Shillong in Meghalaya. It, however, added that no coercive steps, including arrest, will take place during the course of investigation.

The decision was taken by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi which also issued a notice to Kumar and sought his response before February 20, the next date of hearing on the allegations by the CBI that he was tampering with electronic evidence and that the SIT headed by him provided the agency with doctored materials.

The CBI filed additional documents in the court on Tuesday to back up its claim that he had destroyed evidence related to the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams.

In the documents, the CBI stated that the role of Kolkata’s police chief was being investigated as the Special Investigation Team formed to probe the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams had protected these companies as they had made contributions to the Trinamool Congress.

Arguing on behalf of the CBI, attorney general KK Venugopal said the contributions made to TMC by the chit fund firms were via cheques. The A-G has sought permission to furnish the documentary evidence against the Kolkata police chief in a sealed cover.

Senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for West Bengal, said the CBI’s attempt to search the top cop’s home was is a bid to harass and humiliate him. “There’s no FIR against Rajeev Kumar,” he said.

The apex court also directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the Director General of Police (DGP) and the Kolkata Police commissioner to file replies on the contempt pleas filed against them by the CBI on or before February 18.

The bench also comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna said on consideration of replies of the chief secretary, the DGP and the Kolkata police commissioner, the court might prefer the personal appearance of these three authorities on February 20.

The bench said the apex court’s secretary general will inform them on February 19 whether they are required to be present before the apex court on February 20.

The court order, preventing the police chief’s arrest, prompted West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to call it a “moral victory” from the venue of her dharna in Kolkata.

Minutes after the order, she said she was grateful to the court for vindicating her stand.

The CM claimed that Rajeev Kumar never said he was not available and the two parties should meet at a mutually agreed place. She said Kumar had written five letters to the CBI, saying that he was available for a meeting. “But what they started doing? They went to his house to arrest him. The court has said no arrest.”

“I am not pleading for Rajeev Kumar, I am pleading for millions of people of this country. It is a victory of the people of Bengal. It is a victory of our Save India campaign. It is the victory of our forces, our democracy and our Constitution. It is a victory of the Opposition,” she added.

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