CBI issues lookout notice against former Kolkata top cop Rajeev Kumar in Saradha scam case
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issued a lookout notice against former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on Sunday in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam case to prevent him from leaving the country. All airports and immigration authorities have been alerted by the CBI.
Rajeev Kumar’s plea seeking extension of his protection from arrest, which ended on Friday, was dismissed by the Supreme Court.
The central probe agency wants custodial interrogation of Kumar, a 1989-batch IPS officer, in connection with the Saradha scam. Kumar was heading the Special Investigation Team of West Bengal Police probing the case before CBI took over.
The CBI had told the Supreme Court that custodial interrogation of Kumar was necessary as he was not cooperating with the probe. The CBI also said that Kumar “destroyed and tampered” the material evidence in the form of call detail records (CDRs) of the prime accused and potential accused.
The top court had expressed concern over the confrontation between the CBI and the West Bengal Police in the case and said those at the receiving end, lakhs of small town and rural investors, are silently waiting. The court had also noted that the West Bengal government and Kumar have alleged “political vendetta” and have made allegations against M Nageswara Rao, a former interim CBI director.
Kumar in an affidavit before the court had alleged that he was targeted by the CBI in the chit fund case due to “mala fide intent” and “conflict of interest” of Rao as his family members were under the scanner post-demonetisation.
CBI began investigating the Saradha chit fund scam in 2014. At least 1.7 million depositors were duped to the extent of Rs 3,500 crore. Saradha founder Sudipta Sen has written a confessional letter to CBI in 2013 in which he admitted that he had paid large sums of money to several politicians, businessmen, journalists and others.
The company’s modus operandi was to lure investors to deposit money in its schemes promising abnormally high returns.