The CBI is seeking to quiz Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and other IPS officers.
Non-cooperation from the police in Bengal, including Kolkata Police and West Bengal Police, is delaying the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) probe into the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams in the state. The CBI is seeking to quiz Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and other IPS officers, according to highly placed sources in the CBI in Bengal. Sources in the CBI have said that they have asked for the appearance of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, along with Additional Commissioner of Police Vineet Goel, former Joint Commissioner Pallab Kanti Ghosh, Inspector General rank officer Tamal Basu, among others, before the CBI team in Kolkata to get access to certain documents and details of the Saradha scam case, as they were part of the Special Investigation Team that was formed by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2013 when the Saradha scam came to light for the first time.
A source in the CBI said: “We have repeatedly asked for members of the SIT who investigated the Saradha scam case in its initial days—including these top officers from the Kolkata Police and the state police—to share with us some crucial documents and reports of their investigation that would act as strong evidence against the accused, but so far they have either not replied to the requests or have denied meeting the CBI officers investigating the case so far.” The source added that these important documents with the Kolkata Police are very essential to the investigation and could act as strong evidence against the accused, including some top leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC); this is why the police is shying away from joining the investigation.
“This non-cooperation from the police in Bengal is delaying the case. Once CBI officers get to quiz these top cops and access the documents, the case could see a closure,” the source said.
CBI sources have also said that the CBI has written multiple emails to the Director General (DG) of West Bengal Police to cooperate in the investigation, but the CBI has so far not heard back from the top cop of the state. A fresh email was also sent earlier this week to the DG of West Bengal Police from the CBI headquarters in Delhi to request the officers of the SIT to appear before it, but even this time, the CBI is yet to get a reply to the request made by the agency.
In June this year, Rakesh Asthana, Special Director of the CBI, had visited Kolkata and lashed out at the local officers in the city at the slow pace of the investigation. He had asked the officers to report to Delhi on the progress of the investigation on a fortnightly basis and file a charge-sheet in both Saradha and Rose Valley scams without further delay. He had also asked the officers to complete the investigation into these cases within four months, after which the pace of work seemed to gather pace, until it hit the roadblock of non-cooperation from the state police.
The Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams, together running into nearly Rs 37,000 crore, had seen the arrest of several top TMC leaders, including MP Sudip Bandopadhyay and Tapas Pal, who are currently out on bail. Names of several other TMC leaders are also on the list and they could soon be called for questioning by the CBI. Saradha group founder Sudipta Sen and his close associate Debjani Mukherjee, who were arrested in 2013, are, however, still in custody.