New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Calcutta High Court which granted anticipatory bail to senior IPS officer Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha ponzi scam case.
The high court’s division bench granted Kumar bail on October 1 and asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two persons as surety in order to get the relief.
Kumar is presently the Additional Director General, West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department.
The Calcutta High Court has granted bail to Kumer to join the investigation whenever required. The high court did not find merit in the CBI plea for Kumar’s custodial interrogation.
The high court, however, said that the CBI was free to move an appeal to a higher judiciary against the order.
Kumar moved his anticipatory bail application before the division bench on September 24, alleging that the federal probe agency was “hounding” him. The hearing was held “in-camera” following a plea by the IPS officer’s counsel.
On September 21, Kumar suffered a setback in his bid to secure pre-arrest bail when the Alipore District and Sessions Court rejected his plea.
Prior to that, the CBI had moved a petition for issuing a non-bailable arrest warrant against Kumar in the Alipore court, which disposed it off saying the former Kolkata Police Commissioner could be arrested by the CBI in accordance with the law if it felt that it was required.
The judiciary had earlier given Kumar interim protection on May 30 and then extended it multiple times till the Calcutta High Court withdrew the protection on September 13.
The CBI had in May sent a notice to Kumar asking him to appear before it and later issued a lookout notice against him, alerting all airports and immigration authorities against him leaving the country.
He earlier appeared before the CBI in February and June and was grilled by the sleuths.
According to the CBI, it had sent him half-a-dozen notices since then, but the senior cop did not appear before the sleuths even once.
Kumar, as the then Commissioner of the Bidhannagar Commissionerate, headed the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the state government in 2013 to probe the Saradha ponzi scam.
The Supreme Court in May 2014 handed over the case to the CBI, which has accused him of tampering with evidence and not handing over crucial documents connected to the case.
The Saradha scandal came to light in April 2014 when the group companies closed shop one after another across Bengal after being unable to pay back the depositors — mainly poor people who, lured by the promise of huge returns, parked their life’s savings with the firms.
As the company got busted, there was a spate of suicides by the agents and investors, sparking protests across the state.
Saradha Group promoter Sudipta Sen, as also his close associate Debjani Mukherjee, are behind bars now.