Government

Appear Before CBI in 'Neutral' Shillong, SC Tells Kolkata Police Commissioner

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has called the order a "moral victory".

Kolkata: The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that the police commissioner of Kolkata, Rajeev Kumar, should appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Shillong, Meghalaya – a neutral place.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi observed, “We direct the police commissioner to make himself available and fully cooperate. We will deal with contempt petition later.”

This came after the central investigative agency filed a plea in the apex court against the city police commissioner, alleging the destruction of electronic evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam case.

The three-judge Supreme Court bench comprising CJI Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna also observed that Kumar can’t be arrested at this point of time.

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Congress Rajya Sabha MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the West Bengal government, said, “It’s an attempt to humiliate and score a point. What’s the great urgency? For five years there was no FIR. There is not a single FIR against Rajeev Kumar under Section 201 (destruction of evidence) of the IPC.”

The court will hear the case next on February 20.

Right after the verdict was announced, West Bengal chief minister, who has been on dharna against the CBI’s actions since Sunday night, said that she “welcomes” the apex court’s order.

“This judgment shows we are morally right,” she added. “It’s a moral victory. We have great respect for the judiciary and all institutions. We are so grateful. We are so obliged.”

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal submitted that there was a serious breakdown of law and order in the state. “Can the state police confront the Centre’s police, which is acting pursuant to the orders of this court?” he said.

Also read: CBI’s Attempted Arrest of Kolkata Police Commissioner Was an Attack on Federalism

The AG insisted on the court hearing the contempt plea, and requested the bench to initiate contempt proceedings.

The bench issued notice in the contempt petition filed by the AG against the West Bengal chief secretary and DGP and the Kolkata police commissioner. The court gave the three officials till February 18 to file their replies.

After the Supreme Court judgment, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Today we have to ask larger questions on behalf of the party. Lakhs of small investors were cheated and looted off their money. Is it not our moral obligation to have an investigation? Why is Mamataji silent on this? Why are the other political parties silent on this?”

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