New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to monitor the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case into the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal.
A two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna did not allow the application filed by some investors, that despite the apex court’s order from 2013, directing the agency to probe the chit fund scam, the investigation has not attained finality.
“We are not inclined to set up a monitoring committee for the chit fund scam probe,” the bench said.
The apex court in 2013 had transferred the probe into the scam to the CBI.
The top court on February 5 directed Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar to appear before the agency and ‘faithfully’ cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the chit fund scam while making it clear that he will not be arrested.
The CBI has alleged that Kumar, who was leading the special investigation team (SIT) in the Saradha chit fund scam, destroyed and tampered with material evidence in the form of call detail records (CDRs) of the prime accused and potential accused.
On February 4, the apex court took strong note of allegations of tampering with evidence in the Saradha scam, saying, “If the police commissioner is even remotely trying to destroy evidence, we will come down so heavily on him that he will regret.”
The court had also directed the West Bengal chief secretary, the director general of police (DGP) and the Kolkata police commissioner to file replies to the statements made in the contempt petition filed against them by the CBI on or before February 18.
On February 3, the CBI officials had gone to Kumar’s residence in connection with the probe.
The agency also claimed that companies like Saradha, Rose Valley and Tower Group had given huge contributions to the Trinamool Congress.
Claiming that the SIT is under investigation as it was conniving with accused and potential accused to subvert the investigating process, the affidavit filed by CBI said there are a large number of hard discs and other material still in custody of Kumar which he had collected as an investigating officer, being the head of the SIT and being the functional head and day-to-day incharge of SIT.
The CBI alleged that the entire material gathered by Kumar during the initial and crucial stage of investigation was not handed over to the agency which was entrusted with the investigation of the scam by the apex court on May 9, 2014.
The CBI said that while the SIT was conducting the investigation on the directions of the Kolkata high court, ‘crucial original, primary and fundamental evidence such as laptops, mobile phones etc.,’ were handed over to the main accused in the Saradha scam case by the investigating officer (IO) of West Bengal police, working under direct supervision of Kumar.
The CBI said Kumar is prima facie guilty of having committed criminal offences and has not coordinated in spite of the summons being issued.
Further, the agency said that despite an FIR lodged in 2013 against Rose Valley, the SIT suppressed that fact which resulted in non-registration of a regular case by the CBI.
The CBI alleged the administration of the West Bengal government has not been cooperative and is preventing it from conducting a free and fair investigation.
It said that apart from the evidence which is already destroyed or tampered and the evidence which is in the process of being so destroyed or tampered, the very factum of local police detaining the personnel of the investigating agency discharging duty entrusted by the court, is serious enough for the top court to take cognisance of.
In the affidavit, the CBI narrated the entire incident in which the CBI personnel were taken into custody and the house of its joint director was seized to manifest that there is a complete breakdown of constitutional machinery in the state.