New Delhi: Supreme Court judge L Nageswara Rao on Wednesday recused himself from hearing a CBI plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Secretary, DGP and former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar for alleged non-cooperation in the Saradha chit fund scam probe.
When the matter came up for hearing before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Rao expressed his inclination not to hear the case as he had appeared for the West Bengal government as a counsel.
The court then posted the matter for hearing to February 27. The bench also included Justice Sanjiv Khan.
The court had earlier said that it will decide whether to issue summons to Rajeev Kumar, who has now been posted as ADG & IGP, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal, state Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De and Director General of Police (DGP) Virendera Kumar in the contempt petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The CBI had filed the plea in the apex court against three officers for alleged willful and deliberate violation of the top court’s orders.
The plea was filed after an unprecedented chain of the event on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when it reached Kumar’s residence for questioning him in connection with the Saradha chit fund case. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and released later.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had rushed to Kumar’s residence and later sat on a dharna.
On Monday, the three officers had filed their affidavits on the contempt plea and refuted the allegations levelled by the CBI. They also tendered an unconditional and unambiguous apology for alleged disobedience of the court’s orders.
The officers have said that they had not obstructed the probe into the Saradha chit fund scam and that no state official had denied cooperation to the CBI.
The officers in their affidavit have also denied CBI’s allegation that they were tampering with evidence.
Kumar had claimed that on February 3, the CBI officers forcefully tried to enter his residence without valid papers.
On February 5, the bench had asked Kumar to “faithfully” cooperate with the CBI in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam and asked him to appear before the CBI at Shillong.
It had also directed the CBI not to take any coercive steps, including arresting of Kumar.