Will see if evidence shows need for custodial interrogation of ex-Kolkata CP, says SC
Kumar was earlier heading the West Bengal Police’s special investigation team (SIT) probing the chit fund scam. The apex court had in May 2014 directed the CBI to investigate the case
THE Supreme Court told CBI on Wednesday that it would examine whether there was evidence requiring former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s custodial interrogation by the agency in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi made this observation after perusing the case diary placed before it by the CBI, which sought Kumar’s custodial interrogation claiming that there was prima facie evidence that he had tried to destroy or tamper with evidence and “shield high and mighty” in the case.
Kumar’s counsel countered the CBI submissions and said the agency’s move to seek custodial interrogation of the IPS officer was nothing but a “political game”. Kumar was earlier heading the West Bengal Police’s special investigation team (SIT) probing the chit fund scam.
The apex court had in May 2014 directed the CBI to investigate the case. During Wednesday’s hearing on the CBI application, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the agency, referred to statement of an investigating officer of the SIT which was recorded by the CBI during the probe. “We have read the statement. It is a matter of investigation. We are required to see if there is any material which can show that the commissioner of police (Kumar) is required to be interrogated in custody,” said the bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
Mehta argued that there was “prima facie evidence” that Kumar had destroyed or tempered with evidence and he had tried to shield some main accused in the case. “There is a prima facie case of destruction of evidence and shielding the high and mighty. It is within my right to urge the court to let me (CBI) have his (Kumar) custodial interrogation,” Mehta told the bench. Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Kumar and the West Bengal Government, said though the CBI has alleged that Kumar had destroyed evidence, no FIR has been lodged till date under section 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “This is nothing but a political game to keep the pot boiling and paint the people black,” Singhvi said.