Kolkata: Rajeev Kumar, the commissioner of Kolkata Police, has written a personal letter to Alok Kumar Verma, the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), alleging that the federal agency’s officer investigating the Saradha Group’s ponzi scam is acting on the basis of political motivation.
In a letter written at the end of October, Kumar requested Verma to have the investigating officer replaced by another “senior officer who is not part of the (current) team".
Kumar wrote the letter after declining to be questioned by the CBI’s investigating officer.
The agency sent formal notices to Kumar at least twice but the Kolkata Police chief said in his letter that “there are strong reasons to believe" that the investigating officer was looking to question him to “satisfy a senior leader of a political party".
Without naming names, Kumar was referring to Kailash Vijayvargiya, national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who had publicly accused the police commissioner of destroying evidence.
Kumar said in his letter that criminal and civil defamation cases have been started against the political leader.
A year ago, Vijayvargiya had alleged that Kumar as the commissioner of Bidhannagar Police, which was investigating the Saradha Group, had destroyed evidence to protect leaders of the Trinamool Congress.
The CBI wants to question him because he supervised the investigation until the Supreme Court ordered the probe to be transferred to the central agency in early 2014.
In his letter, Kumar said that the CBI had already examined two inspectors connected with the local police’s probe into the Saradha Group.
“Surprisingly, no other senior officer" has been called for questioning, he said, arguing that the central agency was after him under political pressure.
“I am in no way suggesting that investigation (into) all aspects of the case should not be done, but basic decorum of service needs to be maintained," Kumar said. In this case, questioning should have been considered only if written replies were found insufficient, he added.
In 2017, the CBI and Kolkata Police fought a series of battles in public. The central agency even moved the Supreme Court alleging that the local police which had investigated now defunct group had not cooperated in the probe.
In its petition, the CBI had alleged that one of its officers investigating the Rose Valley group, which also ran ponzi schemes, was sent summons by the Kolkata Police in a completely “unrelated matter as a retaliatory measure" to intimidate the agency’s officers probing various deposit-taking companies.
Last month, the agency wrote to Surajit Kar Purakaystha, director general of police of West Bengal, seeking specific documents and access to key police officers for the investigation into the Saradha Group.