No evidence has been placed before the court by the CBI to substantiate that former head of Special Investigation Team (SIT) looking into Saradha chit fund scam, Rajeev Kumar, has tampered with documents relating to the probe, Milan Mukherjee submitted today, opposing the CBI plea for Kumar’s custodial interrogation.
Kumar was not the investigating officer involved in any search, seizure, arrest, collection of electronic evidence relating to the Saradha probe, it was stated before Justice Madhumati Mitra of Calcutta High Court today.
The CBI has not backed up its allegation of non-cooperation by state police with evidence, Mukherjee pointed out.
The former SIT chief has responded to every notice he has received from CBI.
The CBI should make it clear whether the 25-member team sent by it to Kumar’s residence when he was the police commissioner of Kolkata was deployed to serve a notice or to arrest him, it was submitted. The CBI had stated that its team was on a secret mission to the city police chief’s house, but it is time to spell out what the secrecy was all about, Mr Mukherjee pointed out.
The day when Kumar’s house where he lived as city police chief was raided, coincided with the last day in office of an interim CBI chief, he said.
One does not know why the CBI did not wait for the new incumbent to take over, it was submitted. Kumar was interrogated for 40 hours between 9 and 13 February at Shillong where he was often subjected to some repetitive questions.
There appears to be a mala fide intent on the part of the CBI. It is certainly not a figment of imagination that Kumar has been singled out among the 100-odd officers of the SIT, it was submitted. Mukherjee rubbished the CBI’s charge that its office at Nizam Palace and the residence of its joint director, Pankaj Srivastav was gheraoed and police looked the other way.
Police were sent to Nizam Palace to prevent any loss of property and attack on government personnel but without checking with director general of police or home secretary, Srivastav sensationalised the matter by going to the media, he stated.
Kumar’s counsel also drew the attention of the court during the day that the former SIT chief has received a notice from CBI in the Rose Valley case and stated that his client will have to go outside Kolkata if he has to respond to it but he cannot do so owing to a court order.
After the court’s direction was appealed to be changed, Justice Mitra asked Mr Mukherjee to file an affdavit on this issue tomorrow.
Mr Rajeev Kumar, meanwhile is learnt to have sought a month’s time for his appearance before the CBI.
A CBI source, while confirming Mr Kumar’s request for postponement of today’s deposition by the former city police city, declined to elaborate on the reasons attributed for the request by Mr Kumar. Two officers from Bhawani Bhavan, the state CID headquarters, where the former city police chief is posted as additional director general, CID, had come to the CBI’s CGO complex office and handed over a letter stating his inability to join the probe today, a source informed.
The former city police commissioner joined the probe into the Saradha scam after Calcutta High court had extended his interim protection from arrest by the CBI, after the Barasat court had vacated his petition for a stay on the ground of procedural flaws. A source close to the federal agency said that the decision to issue summons to Mr Kumar to join the probe in the Rose Valley scam stemmed from the fact the former city police chief had during his tryst with the agency at its Shillong office earlier in January this year, ducked many questions regarding his role as the then head of the special Investigation Team ( SIT) formed by the state to look into the Saradha scam.
The agency, had during its probe already interrogated several top ranking officers of the SIT and Bidhannagar police Commissionerate, including Mr Arnab Ghosh, the then deputy commissioner (detective department), of Bidhanangar commisionerate.