SC Declines Protection To Rajeev Kumar IPS From Arrest In Saradha Chit Fund Case [Read Order]
The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain erstwhile Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar's plea for an extension of the immunity from arrest in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case.
The vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was of the view that the petition was not maintainable in the top court and asked Kumar to move the competent court in the state of West Bengal to decide his application for anticipatory bail.
"There are no vacations there. Both the district and the High Court are functioning, only the advocates are on strike", the bench remarked.
Kumar, whose period of protection from arrest ends today, had approached the Supreme Court directly saying that no legal remedies are available to him in West Bengal due to the strike announced by lawyers there since April 25
The apex court, on February 5, had granted protection from arrest to Kumar while directing him to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate with investigation of cases arising out of the scam. On May 17, in an order pronounced on the CBI's request for Kumar's custodial interrogation, a bench helmed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had lifted the interim protection granted against arrest and had given him seven days time to seek legal remedies.
On Friday, it was observed that in view of the said order, Kumar's application could only be decided by the bench of Chief Justice Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.
In his petition, Kumar said that apex court transferred the probe in the case to CBI not because of any lapses on the part of state police but due to the inter-state ramifications of the crime.
He was not in-charge of the day to day investigation of the case but was only responsible for logistical arrangements of the Special Investigation Team, stated the petition. Therefore, he was no in exclusive or direct possession of evidence. He denied the allegations that he had withheld crucial evidence collected by the police from the CBI and had tampered the Call Details Records of the accused in the case.
"the CBI has not made any attempts to summon the concerned Investigating Officers and/or to interrogate them in relation to the alleged tampering of evidence. The mala fides of the Respondent/CBI and complete disregard to process of law is evident as those entrusted with superintendence and supervision of the investigation have not been summoned in this regard and no allegations have been made against them regarding alleged destruction of evidence", the petition stated.
On February 3, an open clash between the CBI and the Kolkata police occurred when CBI officials who attempted to enter the residence of Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar for interrogation were detained by WB police. This led to the CBI approaching the SC and the SC ordering Rajeev Kumar to make himself available for investigation by CBI in relation. The questioning of Police Commissioner was directed to be made at a neutral place, Shillong.