Home Law Supreme Court withdraws interim protection granted to ex-Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar, opens door for CBI's custodial interrogation

Supreme Court withdraws interim protection granted to ex-Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar, opens door for CBI’s custodial interrogation

Rajeev Kumar was relieved from his duty as the ADG (CID) by the Election Commission and was sent to Delhi to report to the MHA. CBI's plea seeking vacation of the court order providing him interim protection from arrest is due verdict at the SC today.

Ex Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar, who was at the centre of a 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, has reported at the MHA after being relieved from his duty by the Election Commission of India.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is the controlling authority of all IPS officers in the country. Rajeev Kumar was the additional DG of CID in West Bengal up to Wednesday when the Election Commission of India had relieved him from his duty along with Atri Bhattacharya, the principal secretary (home) for failing to control the law and order situation in the state. The EC had also invoked article 324 and had ordered all political campaigning to stop in the state a day prior to the scheduled date.

Rajeev Kumar, as per reports, is yet to be assigned any new charges by the MHA.

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Rajeev Kumar is accused of shielding some of the accused and destroying evidence in West Bengal’s Sharada 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 offices who were seen sharing the stage with the CM.

As Rajeev Kumar arrives in Delhi to report at the MHA, the CBI’s plea seeking custodial interrogation of Kumar is also due to hearing at the Supreme Court today. The SC is to pronounce its verdict today on the CBI application seeking the vacation of the court order that provided Rajeev Kumar interim protection from arrest. The CBI has been alleging that there is prima facie evidence against Kumar that he had destroyed crucial evidence against key accused in the Saradha Chit Fund case.

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 Bhattacharya from their posts and, for the first time ever, invoked article 324 to curtail election campaigning in the state. 9 remaining constituencies in the state will vote on Sunday.

As per latest reports, the Supreme Court has allowed the CBI’s petition and has withdrawn the protection against arrest from Rajeev Kumar. Delivering its verdict on CBI’s plea of vacation of the interim protection order, the SC has agreed to it. The SC has given a week’s time to Rajeev Kumar to approach a competent court for interim relief and has directed the CBI to act in accordance with the law.

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