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Saradha chit fund scam: Former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar gets anticipatory bail by High Court

 Though the HC ruled out the need for custodial interrogation, Rajeev Kumar has to appear for questioning whenever the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summons him, with a 48-hour notice.

The Calcutta High Court today granted anticipatory bail to former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Fearing arrest, Kumar, who is accused of destroying evidence in the Saradha chit fund scam when he was heading the probe, has been on the run.

Though the HC ruled out the need for custodial interrogation, he has to appear for questioning whenever the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summons him which in turn have to give a 48-hour notice to Kumar, said the Court.

A bench comprising of justices S Munshi and S Dasgupta stated that if Kumar is arrested in connection with the said case, he will have to be granted bail by an appropriate court on two sureties of Rs 50,000 each.

Rajeev Kumar’s anticipatory bail plea was filed by his wife on September 23, at the Calcutta High Court.

This was the third application for anticipatory bail by Kumar, who is currently posted as the additional director general of the Criminal Investigation Department of Bengal Police by Mamata’ government. He had earlier applied for bail at the district court in North 24 Parganas district which said that the matter was out of its jurisdiction, and Judges Court at Alipore, Kolkata had rejected his plea.

During the same time the CBI, which has been probing the case, moved two petitions for a non-bailable arrest warrant against Rajeev Kumar. While a special court in North 24 Parganas district said it did not have jurisdiction, the additional chief judicial magistrate at Alipore ruled that the agency could arrest Kumar without a warrant. Since then (September 13) Kumar has remained untraceable. The CBI launched a manhunt for Rajeev Kumar but without any success.

The Supreme Court has already stated that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has in its status report made ‘very very serious’ revelations on the interrogation of former Kolkata Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund scam. The CBI had claimed that the police under Rajeev Kumar had taken charge of all evidence and documents pertaining to the investigation and a lot of it had disappeared.

The Saradha scam broke out into the open in 2013 when a Ponzi scheme run by the Saradha Group, a consortium of over 200 private companies, collapsed after collecting hundreds and thousands of crores from over 15 lakh investors.

Many senior politicians in the state have been alleged to be involved in the scam ever since the CBI initiated its investigation. In December 2014, state transport and sports minister, Madan Mitra, was arrested by the central investigative agency in connection with the scam. Mitra was accused of criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation.

The state of West Bengal was amidst massive chaos in February 2019 after the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had resorted to ‘dharna’ politics to save Rajeev Kumar from Saradha chit fund scam investigation. Mamata Banerjee had sat on ‘Dharna’ after Kolkata Police had forcefully detained eight CBI officials who had gone to visit police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to obtain crucial information regarding the Saradha scam.

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