Where is former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar? The ex-top cop was asked to present himself at the CBI office in Salt Lake at 10 am on Saturday in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam but officers of the agency said he not only failed to turn up, his phone was also switched off.
Officers also spoke to officials at the Kolkata airport to be on alert if his name crops up on any flight passenger list, inbound or outbound.
Rajeev Kumar was earlier asked by the Calcutta High Court to deposit his passport with the CBI. On Friday afternoon, soon after a single bench of Calcutta High Court removed his protective shield against arrest, a CBI team visited Kumar’s official residence on Park Street, but did not find him. Removing the shield against “coercive action”, Calcutta High Court said on Friday that the agency could summon him whenever it felt necessary for questioning.
While there has been speculation that the CBI is likely to arrest him, officers indicated that his fate will depend on whether he cooperates with the agency or not. According to CID officers, Rajeev Kumar went on leave for 10 days beginning September 10. Kumar, a 1989 batch IPS officer, is now the additional director general of the Criminal Investigation Department of Bengal Police.
Rajeev Kumar is believed to be close to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. When there were reports in the media that the CBI may question the police chief, Mamata came to his support.“The Kolkata Police Commissioner is among the best in the world. His integrity, bravery and honesty are unquestioned…When you spread lies, the lies will always remain lies,” she said.
Kumar is accused of tampering with and withholding vital evidence and documents and trying to shield influential persons who had received cash from the Saradha Group.
Kumar was the chief of the SIT had investigated the scam till 2014, when the CBI took over the probe following an order by the Supreme Court.
The Rs 2,460-crore Saradha scam is the politically most sensitive scam in Bengal in which a minister (Madan Mitra), a Rajya Sabha MP (Kunal Ghosh) and a Trinamool Congress (TMC) vice-president Rajat Majumdar were sent to jail. Another Rajya Sabha MP (Srinjoy Bose) from Trinamool Congress was also questioned.