oppn parties Sarada Scam: Rajeev Kumar's Time Is Up

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Sarada Scam: Rajeev Kumar's Time Is Up

By A Special Correspondent

The time of Rajeev Kumar, former Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, is up. He has been issued a summons to appear before the CBI on Monday when, in all likeliness, he will be arrested. The investigation agency has wanted to take Kumar in custody as he was not cooperating and was “evasive” in his answers about the Sarada scam in West Bengal. The Supreme Court had recently lifted the protection against arrest it had granted Kumar in February and given him 7 days to seek judicial remedy in a proper court in West Bengal. That time limit expired on 23rd midnight.

During the period, Kumar had approached the apex court twice to seek an extension of the protection as he pleaded he could not go to courts in Bengal due to the lawyers’ strike in the state. The apex court refused the same and said that Kumar being a police officer knew the law better – he could file a plea on his own as judges were working in the state. But Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea was rejected by a court in Barasat due to technical reasons on Friday. If he appears before the CBI in Kolkata today, he will be arrested. On Saturday, a team from the CBI visited Kumar’s residence and office in Kolkata. Before that, the agency had informed all airports in India to prevent Kumar from flying abroad. The agency has been tightening the noose slowly, but surely.

Rajeev Kumar, who was investigating the Sarada chit fund scam in Bengal, is alleged to have collected a large amount of evidence in the form of files and hard disks from the persons accused in the case. He is accused by the CBI of not having sent the files and hard disks for forensic check and of destroying evidence “to protect the high and mighty”. When the agency had raided Kumar’s residence in February this year, it had led to a stand-off between the state and the Centre with chief minister Mamata Banerjee accusing PM Modi and Amit Shah of using the CBI for political vendetta and prevented the agency from either searching his house or arresting him. She sat on a dharna for 70 hours in central Kolkata, with Kumar making an appearance beside her. But later, the apex court allowed the CBI to question Kumar at a neutral venue in Shillong with the caveat that he could not be arrested without the court’s permission. The CBI had then questioned him for five days. Later, the agency sought his arrest on the grounds that he was being non-cooperative.

The case will take a serious turn on Monday if Kumar appears before the CBI in Kolkata. If he does not appear, the CBI will in all probability declare him to be an absconder and start looking for him with a warrant. But if he does appear, he will be arrested and might be taken to Delhi for further questioning. For, Kumar holds the key in the investigations in the Sarada scam in which many TMC leaders have been accused. Some of them, like Madan Mitra had been arrested and spent time in jail or in hospital under custody. They have since been released on bail. If Kumar sings, many influential persons in Bengal politics will suffer. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already reinstated Kumar as the state CID chief (he was transferred to the Home ministry by the EC hwne the model code of conduct was in force). It remains to be seen what Mamata Banerjee does if he is arrested.