Saradha-tainted cop Rajeev in Delhi, key day in Supreme Court

The CBI wants to question the police officer in the Saradha deposit-default scam

By Our Bureau in New Delhi
  • Published 17.05.19, 7:26 AM
  • Updated 17.05.19, 7:26 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Rajeev Kumar Telegraph picture

The Supreme Court will on Friday deliver its verdict on a CBI plea for custodial interrogation of former Calcutta police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha deposit-default scam.

Kumar, whose latest posting was as additional director-general with the Bengal CID, arrived in Delhi on Thursday morning after the Election Commission transferred him to the Union home ministry on Wednesday evening.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna, sitting on a vacation bench, will pronounce the verdict at 10.30am on behalf of a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and including Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Khanna himself.

The CBI had earlier placed in the Supreme Court a sealed report containing three documents that it claimed proved Kumar had helped tamper with evidence to protect several key accused in the case.

While reserving its verdict, the apex court had observed that accepting the plea could have “severe consequences”.

“If a public official is arrested, that may lead to suspension of the officer. It has severe consequences for the officers. Many countries do not allow custodial interrogation,” the bench had told solicitor-general Tushar Mehta.

Kumar, whom the poll panel had asked to report to the Union home ministry by 10am on Thursday, “came and reported punctually”, a North Block official said.

He said Kumar had flown into Delhi in the morning and visited Banga Bhavan in Hailey Road, near Connaught Place, before heading to North Block.

“Kumar has been attached to the home ministry but has not been given any charge yet,” the official said.

“Since it was an unplanned transfer, he needs time to settle down. He reported to his supervising officer in the ministry. He explained how he had had a hard time rushing to Delhi following his overnight transfer.”

Kumar left North Block after about half an hour. He will be attached to the home ministry till May 26, that is, as long as the poll panel’s model code of conduct remains in place.

“After that he can go back to Calcutta with the Centre’s permission,” the official said.

In February, Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had staged a roadside dharna after CBI officials had landed at Kumar’s doorstep in Calcutta to question him in connection with the Saradha scam. Kumar, a 1989-batch, Bengal-cadre IPS officer, was then the Calcutta police commissioner.

The CBI later petitioned the Supreme Court, which allowed Kumar’s questioning in a different state but stopped the agency from arresting him.