Rajeev Kumar, the commissioner of Kolkata Police, is the man in the eye of the storm as the war between the Mamata Banerjee government and the NDA regime at the Centre intensifies.
Kolkata was left in a state of surprise on Sunday, 3 February, when a group of 40 CBI officials allegedly turned up outside the house of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday extended her support to Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar. Banerjee claimed Kumar was “among the best in the world”, and that the Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules at the Centre, was “spreading lies” about him. She said he is “working 24×7, and was on leave for only one day recently”.
Who is Rajeev Kumar and does CBI want to investigate him?
Rajeev Kumar is the current commissioner of Kolkata Police. He is a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal. He was appointed as the Commissioner of Kolkata Police in 2016, replacing Surajit Kar Purakayastha. Purakayastha was promoted to CID.
Before being appointed as Kolkata Police Commissioner, Kumar had worked as Commissioner of Police, Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate, and as Special Task Force (STF) chief under Kolkata Police.
Kumar was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing chit fund scams. He had led the probe into Saradha and Rose Valley scams that were unearthed in West Bengal in 2013.
Why CBI wants to quiz Rajeev Kumar?
CBI wants to quiz Kumar about several key documents that had allegedly gone missing. Kumar and a few more officials were even asked by the CBI to join the investigation but they refused to help.
The CBI has claimed that its probe is aimed at locating crucial evidence linked to larger conspiracy behind the chit funds.
The case was taken over by the CBI in 2014 after Supreme Court’s order. Citing a CBI official linked to the investigation, the IE report said that during interrogation of persons arrested in the scam, it was found that crucial evidence gathered by the SIT was not handed over to the CBI. The documents include pen, diary, pen drives and documents seized from Sen’a residence
The CBI has now moved the Supreme Court alleging Rajeev Kumar was involved in destruction of electronic evidence related to Saradha chit fund scam.
What are Saradha and Rose Valley scams?
The Saradha scam was a major financial fraud which lured lakhs of investors to deposit money in its schemes with glossy brochures and the promise of abnormally high returns. An official estimate says Saradha had mopped up about Rs. 1200 crore through its chit funds, but some calculations put that the figure closer to Rs. 4000 crore. The company collapsed in April 2013.
Rose Valley scam was a bigger financial fraud than the Saradha scam and according to Enforcement Directorate estimates, more than Rs. 15,000 crore was reportedly collected from depositors across India mainly from West Bengal, Assam and Bihar. According to ED, a portion of the money was also used to bribe politicians so that the scam can run smoothly. Millions of people invested their life savings with hopes of high returns but in the end, all that they had accumulated after years of hard work got lost in the deep web of scams.
Rajeev Kumar, a 1989 batch IPS officer, had headed a SIT probe connected to Saradha and Rose valley ponzi scams before the case was transferred to the CBI in 2014 on Supreme Court’s orders. He has been under fire from the CBI over missing documents linked to the investigations.
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