The Supreme Court on Tuesday termed as "very very serious" the revelations made by CBI in its status report relating to the recent interrogation of the then Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it cannot "close its eyes" if some "very very serious facts" are disclosed to it and directed CBI to file an application seeking appropriate relief against Kumar, who had earlier headed the state SIT to probe the chit fund scam.
The bench, which also comprised Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, granted 10 days to the probe agency for filing the application. Kumar and others can respond to the plea seven days thereafter.
The top court refused to drop the contempt proceedings against the West Bengal DGP, the chief secretary and Kumar.
It was hearing the CBI's contempt application against various senior officials of the West Bengal government on the ground of non-cooperation in its probe and alleged tampering of evidence including call data records (CDRs) of key accused and Sardha group CMD Sudipta Sen and Debjani Mukherjee.
The court, which had earlier directed CBI Director to file an affidavit giving details about the alleged contempt committed by West Bengal cops and others in the case, perused the reply of the CBI chief and the fresh status report, pertaining to quizzing of Kumar.
"We have gone through your (CBI's) status report. There are something very very serious," the bench said.
The bench asked Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing CBI, to file an appropriate application as it cannot pass any order on the prayers as they were part of the sealed cover report to which the other side has no access.
"File an application or an affidavit, if you want to press for your reliefs. We cannot act unilaterally and the other side has to be heard," the bench said.
"We are not passing any order. File an application and give the other side an opportunity to reply," the bench said.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for West Bengal officials, opposed the liberty being granted to CBI to file an application against Kumar.
"While considering the contempt matter, suppose some very very serious things come to our notice then, should we close our eyes to that," the bench said while asking CBI to file the fresh plea.
At the outset, Venugopal referred to the reply of the CBI Director and alleged that the West Bengal police has not been cooperating with the probe, providing incomplete and tampered with details to the probe agency.
He said the CDRs, provided by the state police, of the key accused to the CBI were matched with those provide by the mobile service providers and various discrepancies were found in them.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, also appearing for CBI, said that there has been serious breach of the apex court order asking state police to cooperate in the investigation.
Earlier, the court had asked the CBI Director to provide information in support of the allegations of tampering and destruction of CDRs by Kumar.
The apex court had said the allegations made by the CBI were serious enough and it was an "obligation" on part of the agency to disclose full details of the alleged contempt committed by the then police commissioner.
It had questioned CBI for the delay in moving the apex court when the agency allegedly noticed the tampering of electronic evidence in June 2018.
The probe agency came out with a contempt petition after the February 3 incident in which the CBI sleuths, who had gone to probe Kumar at his residence, were taken into custody and manhandled by the West Bengal Police.
Though the apex court had taken note of the February 3 incident in which the top cops of the state police allegedly sat with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on dharna, it was annoyed as to why the CBI did not bring to its notice the tampering of the CDRs when it happened in June 2018.
(With PTI inputs)