No need for it's arrest warrant against Rajeev Kumar: City Court to CBI
Kolkata, Sep 20: A city court today said the CBI does not need its arrest warrant against former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar, as the Supreme Court and the Calcutta High Court had already lifted the bar on his arrest in the Saradha chit fund case.
Disposing of the CBI prayer for a warrant against Kumar, the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Alipore, Subrata Mukherjee said the top court and the high court had vacated protection from arrest to Kumar, which was granted earlier.
The ACJM said the CBI may proceed against Kumar, who is currently the additional director general of West Bengal CID, in accordance with the law.
The CBI moved the ACJM court this afternoon seeking an arrest warrant against the senior IPS officer, which was opposed by his lawyers.
In its submission, the agency claimed that the senior IPS officer has failed to appear before it for assisting in the chit fund scam probe, despite notices being sent to him on multiple occasions.
Kumar is not cooperating in the probe, the CBI lawyers told ACJM Mukherjee.
They claimed that Kumar has been avoiding appearance before the CBI officers citing frivolous reasons, seeking more time to visit the agency's office at Salt Lake.
The CBI lawyers cited previous judgements by different courts in support of their prayer, including one in which the agency had got an arrest warrant against absconding underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Kumar's lawyers said the order relating to Dawood, one of the country's most-wanted fugitives, did not apply in this case.
The ACJM, in his order, observed that similarity cannot be drawn between the two cases, as the one involving Dawood had provisions of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA).
The senior IPS officer is a witness and not an accused, and as such the court cannot issue an arrest warrant against him in the case, his lawyers told the court.
Denying the charge that he was not cooperating with the probe, they claimed that Kumar is not absconding and had informed the CBI about his unavailability from September 1 to 25.
The Saradha chit fund case was registered at the Alipore court in South 24 Parganas district.
On September 17, Kumar had moved the Barasat District and Sessions Court, seeking anticipatory bail but failed to get any relief.
The sessions judge had disposed of Kumar's anticipatory bail plea and said it has no jurisdiction in the matter, as the multi-crore chit fund scam case was registered at the Alipore district court.
The CBI had earlier summoned Kumar on May 27 for questioning in connection with the ponzi scam, against which he had moved the high court.
While vacating its interim order granting him protection from arrest, the high court had also rejected his prayer for quashing the CBI notice that sought his appearance for interrogation in the case.
A vacation bench had on May 30 granted Kumar protection from arrest and coercive action by the CBI. The protection was extended from time to time until last week.
The former Kolkata police chief was part of a Special Investigation Team set up by the state government to investigate the scam, before the Supreme Court handed over the case to CBI in 2014, along with other chit fund cases.
The Saradha chit fund scam was unearthed in 2013 during Kumar's tenure as the Bidhannagar Police commissioner.
In January, the Centre and the West Bengal government were locked in an unprecedented standoff, after a CBI team reached the official residence of Kumar for questioning, but had to retreat, as local police detained its officers.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came out in Kumar''s defence and started a sit-in protest against the Centre's move.
The Supreme Court had on February 5 prevented the agency from taking any coercive action against Kumar and directed him to cooperate with the CBI for questioning at a "neutral place".
He was then quizzed by the agency for nearly five days at its office in Shillong in February.
The apex court had on May 24 refused to extend protection from arrest to Kumar, which it had granted to him earlier, and asked him to approach the Calcutta High Court or the trial court for seeking relief in the case.