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Submit proof, convince court for custodial interrogation of ex-Kolkata police chief: SC to CBI

The CBI had earlier this month moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to arrest and for custodial interrogation of Rajeev Kumar.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to produce proof and convince the court on its plea for custodial interrogation of former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam.

The court said the CBI has to prove before the court that Kumar had a role to play in either suppression or disappearance of evidence in the case.

The court also sought direct evidence from the CBI on Kumar’s involvement, especially the data on laptop, mobile phones, or diaries which allegedly contained information on payments made to influential people in ensuring destruction of evidence.

Saying an affidavit was not enough, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi added: “Give us, show us from records that this person is involved… On what basis? You can give us evidence tomorrow.”

The apex court will hear the plea on Wednesday.

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended before the court that the West Bengal government made payments to Tara TV, which was owned by the key accused in the scam.

Mehta told the court that Kumar, the then Deputy Commissioner of Arnab Ghosh and the Investigating Officer-in-charge of the initial probe, collaborated in the destruction of evidence.

Mehta told the court that the CBI needed to interrogate Kumar, as under his watch vital piece of information in the case, has gone missing.

“State Police had seized cash books and diaries, which according to a witness contained crucial information on people who were paid in the scam… But it is not clear to the CBI whether it was seized or not… Mobile details were crucial material evidence, but it was destroyed,” said Mehta, summing-up his argument on established the utility of Kumar’s arrest in the scam.

Mehta reiterated that if Kumar were to have helped the CBI with details on the evidence, during his interaction with the agency in Shillong, then it would not have rushed for his arrest.

The CBI had earlier this month moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to arrest and custodial interrogation of Kumar.

The probe agency also wanted the top court to withdraw its February 5 order granting protection to Rajeev Kumar from arrest.

The Supreme Court had directed the former Kolkata police chief to cooperate with the CBI in its probe into the Saradha chit fund scam even as the apex court ordered that Kumar must not be arrested by the agency.

The agency has claimed that the Kolkata police chief had destroyed the evidence in the chit fund scam when he headed the SIT. It further said the copies of call records handed over by SIT to CBI were doctored.

An intense drama was witnessed on February 3, when a team of 40-odd CBI officers reached Kumar’s residence, and a team of Kolkata Police officers rushed there to inquire if they had the documents required to question the CP.

(With inputs from IANS)