New Delhi: The Supreme Court has lifted the interim stay on the arrest of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund case. The court said that Friday’s order will apply from the seventh day onwards.
Until then, Rajeev Kumar has a breather. Next week, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can arrest him. During this period, Kumar can, however, file an anticipatory bail application in another court.
Supreme Court vacates interim protection given to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from arrest by CBI over his alleged role in destroying evidence in Saradha chit fund case. Court gives seven days to Rajeev Kumar to seek legal remedies. pic.twitter.com/qw9uphvpdQ
— ANI (@ANI) May 17, 2019
Rajeev Kumar’s role in Sardha chit fund case
In the alleged scam of Saradha chit fund, former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar has been on the radar of the CBI for more than a year. Kumar led an SIT team, founded in 2013, to investigate the chit fund scam. Allegedly, instead of taking the case to its legal conclusion, he tried to tamper with the evidence so as to secure for the West Bengal government a clean chit.
There are allegations that some important files and documents related to the investigation of the scam are missing. The CBI wants to interrogate the former police commissioner about missing files and documents.
The CBI accused Rajeev Kumar further of contempt of the Supreme Court. Apart from Rajeev Kumar, West Bengal chief secretary and DGP had given affidavits saying that the allegations of the investigating agency were baseless.
CBI seeks permission to arrest Rajeev Kumar
After the case reached the Supreme Court, the CBI argued that Rajeev Kumar was attempting to destroy evidence related to the Saradha case. The investigating agency had said in its petition that it was necessary to interrogate Kumar in their custody and find out the relation between Saradha’s directors and Bengal’s politicians.
Rajeev Kumar argued that no evidence related to the scam was directly under his supervision.
Mamata enacts sit-in drama
Thereafter, a CBI team reached Kolkata to question Rajeev Kumar on 3 February. But then, before they could enter his house, the local police took the CBI officers in their custody!
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee then sat on a protest against the CBI action, which became national news.
The CBI then filed a petition in the Supreme Court. The apex court had directed Rajeev Kumar to appear before the CBI and cooperate in the investigation into his professional integrity. The CBI then interrogated Rajeev Kumar in Meghalaya capital Shillong.
Saradha scam of Rs 2,460 crore affected mostly the poor
The alleged Saradha chit fund scam of West Bengal and a few adjoining States, as well as Tripura, is estimated to be worth Rs 2,460 crore. In the investigation report of the West Bengal Police and Enforcement Directorate (ED), it has been revealed that 80% of the depositor’s money is yet to be paid.
According to the investigation report, four companies of the Saradha group were used to make money through three schemes, which devastated mostly the poor, small investors. Saradha offered three schemes namely fixed deposit, recurring deposit and monthly income deposit, all of which were allegedly fraudulent.