After facing a massive jolt in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, fresh trouble seems to be brewing for Mamata Banerjee and her government as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has issued a lookout notice (LoC) against ex-Kolkata cop and Mamata’s close aide Rajeev Kumar. The notice was issued on Sunday in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case to prevent him from leaving the country.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) May 26, 2019
The investigating agency has alerted all airports and immigration authorities this week to inform the agency in case they see any possible movement regarding the same.
The CBI wants custodial interrogation of Rajeev Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, who was at the centre of the high voltage drama back in February when West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee defied all rulebooks in his support and went on a dharna to shield him.
Kumar was heading the Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the chit fund case before CBI took it over on Supreme Court’s order.
The Supreme Court on Friday, May 24, rejected Kumar’s request for extending protection to him from being arrested. Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s protection from arrest in the Sharada Chit Fund scam ended on May 24. Kumar had urged in the new petition to extend the period of protection.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, chaired by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had withdrawn its February 5 order of not arresting Rajeev Kumar in its order on 17th May and had given a week’s time to Rajeev Kumar to approach a competent court for interim relief and had, meanwhile, directed the CBI to act in accordance with the law.
Rajeev Kumar is accused of shielding some of the accused and destroying evidence in West Bengal’s Saradha Chit Fund scam case. On February 3, a team of CBI officials had arrived at his residence in Kolkata to interrogate him. What followed was an unprecedented political and legal drama. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee had jumped to his defence, moving the state machinery against the CBI and alleging that the attempt to interrogate Kumar is a ‘conspiracy’ by the central government against her.
CBI officials were also attacked, heckled and detained by the Kolkata police under Mamata’s orders. Mamata’s Dharna had lasted almost 72 hours where she had kept on claiming that PM Modi and Amit Shah are planning to overthrow her government and the interrogation order against Rajeev Kumar was a plot by NSA Ajit Doval.
The dharna drama had ended after the Supreme Court had ordered the interrogation of Rajeev Kumar at a location outside Bengal following which he was interrogated for days in Meghalaya’s Shillong along with some other accused in the case.
The MHA had also taken a strong objection to serving IPS officers attending the Bengal CM’s dharna. The ministry had ordered the government of West Bengal to initiate a probe against officers who were seen sharing the stage with the CM.
Rajeev Kumar was transferred from his post of Kolkata Police chief to take up the charge of ADG CID on February 19. On 15 May, the ECI had removed him from his post and had asked him to report to MHA. Following the incidents of violence and vandalism at Amit Shah’s roadshow, the ECI had taken stern action, removing Kumar and Principal Secretary (Home) Atri Bhattacharya from their posts and, for the first time ever, invoked article 324 to curtail election campaigning in the state.