In a major setback for former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, Calcutta High Court on Friday withdrew the protection from arrest. Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, was heading the SIT formed by West Bengal government to probe Saradha and other similar Ponzi scheme cases. Later, the CBI took over the case and said that Kumar was not cooperating in the probe. The agency wants custodial interrogation of Kumar in connection with Rs 2500 crore Saradha ponzi scam. Earlier, the CBI had told the Supreme Court that custodial interrogation of Kumar was necessary as he was not cooperating with the probe and he was ‘evasive’ and ‘arrogant’ in answering queries put to him during his questioning by the agency.
In the last week of January, the Centre and West Bengal government faced an unprecedented stand off after a CBI team which reached the residence of Kumar, then Kolkata police commissioner, for questioning him had to retreat after local police refused to let it enter and detained its officers. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came in the defence of Kumar and started a sit-in to protest against the Centre's move.
The Supreme Court on February 5 had prevented the agency from any coercive action against Kumar and directed him to appear and co-operate in CBI questioning at a "neutral place".
He was questioned by the CBI for nearly five days at its office in Shillong from February 9 onwards. The Saradha group of companies duped lakhs of customers promising higher rates of returns on their investment, the CBI has alleged.