Justice L Nageswara Rao recuses himself from hearing CBI contempt plea against West Bengal chief secretary, DGP, ex-Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 20 February 2019, 11:41 AM
The matter has now been posted to February 26. (File photo)
The matter has now been posted to February 26. (File photo)

Supreme Court judge Justice L Nageshwar Rao recuses from hearing the Saradha chit fund scam case. He was sitting on the bench with Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. The Court was to take up the contempt petition of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against West Bengal chief secretary,  DGP and former Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for not co-operating with the Saradha chit fund investigation. The matter has now been posted to February 26  before an appropriate bench of which Justice Rao is not a part. Justice Rao said that he had appeared for the state as a lawyer so he cannot hear the case.

On February 18, West Bengal chief secretary Malay Kumar De, DGP Virendera Kumar and former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar had filed separate affidavits in the apex court on the contempt petition moved by the CBI in connection with the scam and had tendered "unconditional and unambiguous apology".

The apex court had on February 5 directed them to file replies on the contempt pleas filed against them by the CBI.

Rajeev Kumar’s tenure as Kolkata Commissioner of Police has come to an end. According to CNN News18, he has now been transferred to the West Bengal CID (Criminal Investigation Department). The development comes amid his grilling by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The apex investigation agency is questioning Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, because he was heading the SIT formed by West Bengal government to probe Saradha and other ponzi scheme cases.

Rajeev Kumar had served as the Commissioner of Kolkata Police for three years. The CBI is relying on a 91-page letter from Ghosh, who was expelled by TMC, to the Enforcement Directorate, detailing the role of Kumar in handling the ponzi scam probe after the main accused Sudipta Sen and Debjani Mukherjee, both promoters of Saradha group of companies, had fled to Kashmir, officials said in Kolkata.

Earlier, CBI officials had to beat a hasty retreat from Kumar's residence after its officials were not only prevented by guards from entering the premises but were also detained by Kolkata police.

The incident had triggered an unprecedented tussle between the West Bengal government and the Centre as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a sit-in against the CBI move. On Monday, the agency rushed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court later directed Kumar to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation but made it clear that he should not be arrested.

The court said "to avoid all unnecessary controversy", it was directing Kumar to appear before the agency at a neutral place in Shillong, Meghalaya.

The CBI has temporarily attached 10 more officers with its Kolkata unit, which is probing the scam, to augment strength during questioning of high-profile persons, including Kumar, officials said.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 11:17 AM
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