CBI brings Kolkata top cop, Saradha king­pin face-to-face

CBI Quizzes Ra­jeev For 9 Hrs, May Sum­mon Him To­day Too

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Ro­hit Khanna & Dwai­payan Ghosh

Shil­long: Kolkata po­lice com­mis­sioner Ra­jeev Ku­mar was ques­tioned for nearly nine hours on Sun­day, two and a half hours of which he was made to sit with former Tri­namool MP and one of the main ac­cused in the Saradha scan­dal, Ku­nal Ghosh, who is also one of his most out­spo­ken crit­ics.

Ghosh has time and again blamed the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team (SIT) for gloss­ing over in­for­ma­tion and doc­u­ments he had pro­vided which, he claimed, “im­pli­cated” sev­eral political big­wigs in Ben­gal. He was ar­rested by Bid­han­na­gar po­lice (with Ku­mar as its po­lice com­mis­sioner) in Novem­ber 2013, and was in cus­tody for more than two years. He had then al­leged that he was be­ing sin­gled out.

The joint ques­tion­ing, how­ever, is far from over. CBI sources in­di­cated they have asked both Ghosh and Ku­mar to ap­pear be­fore it again on Mon­day. This, sources said, struck a nerve with the po­lice com­mis­sioner, who had faced over 16 hours of ques­tion­ing over the week­end. Sources in­sisted that Ku­mar had at one point in­sisted on com­plet­ing the ques­tion­ing process even if it meant fac­ing in­ter­roga­tors overnight. His plea, how­ever, was turned down. Long af­ter the ques­tion­ing was com­plete, Ku­mar re­mained in the CBI of­fices to al­low him to “cor­rect” his state­ments be­fore sign­ing them, sources said. He left the CBI of­fices at 10.46pm.

In a sud­den devel­op­ment, CBI’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer in the Rose Val­ley case, Sho­jom Sherpa, was flown in to Shil­long late in the af­ter­noon to join the in­ter­roga­tors. A se­nior CBI of­fi­cer in­di­cated that more CBI of­fi­cers would join the probe from Mon­day. “It is dif­fi­cult to com­mit on any time-frame at this junc­ture,” said a se­nior CBI of­fi­cer, com­ment­ing on how many more days the ques­tion­ing might take. “More of­fi­cers are be­ing dis­patched to Shil­long.” Ku­mar faced seven hours of ques­tion­ing on Satur­day, fol­lowed by nine hours on Sun­day. The Ben­gal gov­ern­ment, sources said, is likely to take le­gal opin­ion on this is­sue. Ghosh’s lawyer Ayan Chakraborty, how­ever, said: “He has come here to co­op­er­ate with the CBI, and that is the prime con­di­tion of his bail.”

On Sun­day, Ku­mar stepped into the CBI of­fices at 10.20am, and Ghosh 30 min­utes ear­lier. Both were ques­tioned separately at the be­gin­ning. The CP, who went out for around two hours for a lunch break, was fi­nally made to sit face to face with Ghosh at 6.40pm. Sherpa, who came from Kolkata on Sun­day, had joined the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team by that time. On ques­tions on Rose Val­ley, Ku­mar re­port­edly in­formed the probe that a Cal­cutta high court spe­cial bench was hear­ing all Ponzi cases, in­clud­ing Rose Val­ley’s.

Sources close to the devel­op­ment in­di­cated that dur­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion, CBI of­fi­cers wanted to know whether Bid­han­na­gar po­lice or the SIT had found any­thing un­usual about the al­leged Ponzi firms and steps taken to curb those. Ku­mar re­port­edly re­sponded that mar­ket watch­dogs like SEBI and RBI need to keep such tabs, not the po­lice.

Af­ter step­ping out of the CBI of­fice, nei­ther Ku­mar nor his le­gal coun­sel, Biswa­jit Deb, spoke to the me­dia.

Kolkata po­lice com­mis­sioner Ra­jeev Ku­mar af­ter he ar­rived in Shil­long last Fri­day

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