New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the CBI Director to file an affidavit giving details about the agency’s claim that former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar had tampered with evidence in the Saradha chit fund scam.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Khanna directed the premier investigation agency to file the affidavit within two weeks on its claim that Kumar had tampered with the call data records of the chit fund scam accused before handing the case over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The court posted to March 26 the hearing on the CBI’s plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Secretary, DGP and Kumar for alleged non-cooperation in the probe into the case.
The apex court said that it was not satisfied with the oral submissions made by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on the allegation and sought the affidavit.
The bench pointed out that according to the Centre, the evidence tampering took place in June 2018 and asked the Centre why it approached the court only in February 2019 after the incident of February 3 when a CBI arrived at Kumar’s residence to question him in connection with the Saradha case..
The counsel for the Centre told the bench that the CBI sought the documents from the service providers and these documents were received only in November 2018.
On this, Chief Justice Gogoi asked, “If what you are saying is correct, don’t you think it is serious enough for you to take the court in confidence? If it is true, this is subversion of the rule of law and you are coming to the court only after the incident of that evening.”
In its recent affidavit, the CBI said there is a “larger conspiracy between highly placed state authorities and the companies under investigation” in the scam.
The affidavit also said communication between the CBI and state authorities show that there had been a “concerted effort to evade, avoid and to escape” the process of law and a conscious effort on part of the authorities to scuttle the investigation.
The affidavit said return of crucial evidence to the main accused by the SIT headed by Kumar, despite the regular monitoring by the Calcutta High Court, clearly show “connivance of the SIT to a larger conspiracy” wherein “local authorities have obstructed investigation and made attempts to destroy the evidence” prior to the transfer of the case to the CBI by the apex court.
“The CDRs of the accused, when analysed by the CBI, were found to be tampered, doctored and the material evidence had been destroyed. The CBI obtained the original CDRs from the service providers,” the agency had said, adding that a comparison of the doctored/tampered CDRs given by Kumar and the CDRs obtained by the CBI from the service providers leaves no manner of doubt that the CDRs handed over by Kumar were tampered and doctored.
The CBI had filed the contempt plea in the apex court against the three officers for alleged wilful and deliberate violation of top court orders.
The plea was filed after an unprecedented chain of event on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by Kolkata Police when they reached Kumar’s residence. Later, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited his residence. The CBI officers were taken to a police station and released later.