Saradha chit fund case: Court disposes of anticipatory bail plea of Rajeev Kumar

Rajeev Kumar

A sessions court in Barasat on Tuesday disposed of the anticipatory bail plea of former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the Saradha chit fund case.

District Sessions Judge S Rashidi said his court has no jurisdiction and locus standi to pass judgment on Kumar s plea as the chit fund scam case was registered at Alipore district court. While the Barasat court is in North 24 Parganas district, Alipore court is in adjacent South 24 Parganas district. Kumar s counsel was advised by the court to file bail plea in Alipore court.

The court also rejected the CBI s plea of custodial interrogation of Kumar.

Kumar s lawyers moved the anticipatory bail plea in the sessions court after the special court in the district, which is in-charge of trial of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, refused to hear the petition on Tuesday morning, saying it does not have jurisdiction to hear anticipatory bail pleas.Judge Rashidi heard Kumar s prayer in the post-lunch session.

Kumar s counsel said he was served notices under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for interrogation to record his statement and there is no such power of the investigating authority to interrogate a witness under custody. The petitioner also stated that Kumar was being falsely framed as he has not been named in the FIR, chargesheet or supplementary chargesheet in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.

The CBI opposed the plea, stating that Kumar broke rules, and that his anticipatory bail would hamper the investigation. The case is under investigation, before completion of a case how can someone be chargesheeted? asked CBI counsel Kali Charan Mishra.

Kumar counsel argued that Kumar acted in discharge of his official duties. What happened in the last four days that the CBI feels a need to arrest him when Rajeev has not been named in the chargesheet, FIR or even supplementary chargesheet, said his counsel Gopal Haldar.

Earlier in the day, Special Court Judge Sanjib Talukdar refused to hear the case stating that it was out of his jurisdiction since it was a trial court, and suggested that Kumar move the Barasat district sessions court.

Kumar, who headed the special investigation team constituted by the Mamata Banerjee government in 2013 to probe the Saradha scam, is accused of tampering with evidence. The Supreme Court in May 2014 handed over the case to the CBI.

The CBI is seeking Kumar s custodial interrogation, arguing that certain documents seized by the SIT during the initial investigation were not handed over to it.