New Delhi: Attacking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for obstructing CBI officials from performing their duty in the ponzi scam case, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar was being protected as he knew some “secrets”.
Addressing a press conference here, Prasad said Banerjee did not even make a remark when some people were arrested in connection with the case but she chose to sit on ‘dharna’ (sit-in) to “save” Rajeev Kumar, who appeared to be “a secret-keeper” in the Saradha chit fund scam.
“Why is she so distraught on arrest of an IPS officer? The total suspicious circumstances surrounding all this clearly indicates that the Commissioner knows a lot. Therefore he has to be saved,” he said.
The minister refuted charges of vendetta politics by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying the chit fund scam was unearthed before Narendra Modi government came to power and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) started investigating the matter on the directions of the Supreme Court.
He also questioned Congress President Rahul Gandhi for backing Banerjee over the CBI row as he had in May 2014 tweeted that 20 lakh people had lost their money in the chit fund scam.
Prasad said documents related to the scam may have been destroyed or manipulated when Kumar was the chairman of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was formed to investigate the case.
The CBI team went to Kumar’s official residence without required warrants in order to ensure that more documents were not destroyed, he added.
“The CBI sent him summons thrice. However, he did not come saying either he was busy in maintaining law and order or Durga puja,” he said, adding that there is a provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure to make an arrest without a warrant.
The minister also took a dig at leaders of the opposition, particularly the Samajwadi Party, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal for having serious cases against them.
Claiming the democracy being strangulated by Banerjee government, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had never stopped the CBI from entering Gujarat when he was Chief Minister of the state.
Asked about the questioning of Mukul Roy, a former Trinamool Congress leader who defected to the BJP in 2017, in connection with the scam, Prasad said: “We don’t propose to save anyone. Even Mukul Roy has been interrogated. Just leave it there.”