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CBI questions Kolkata top cop, ex-TMC MP in Saradha, Rose Valley scams

Press Trust of India/Shillong 10 Feb 19 | 10:25 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar

The CBI has been questioning Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh by making them sit face to face at the probe agency's office here in connection with the Saradha chit fund and Rose Valley scams, officials said Sunday.

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The marathon questioning of Kumar, that began at 10.30 am, was still on at 9.30 pm when this report was filed.

The questioning by the CBI, being done as per the directions of the Supreme Court, continued for the second day on Sunday.

A two-member CBI team, who are the Investigating Officers in the Saradha and Rose Valley scams, arrived here in the afternoon.

Kumar and Ghosh were grilled in the initial period by a 10-member team of the CBI, the officials said.

The Kolkata Police chief was quizzed for nearly nine hours on Saturday by three senior CBI officers about his alleged role in tampering of crucial evidence in the case, they said.

Kumar had led the special investigation team (SIT) formed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to probe the Saradha scam before the case was handed over to the CBI by the apex court.

Officials in Delhi said the CBI has not acceded to the demand of Kumar to have his questioning session videographed.

It is done in cases of custodial interrogations, they said.

There were reports quoting lawyer of Kumar that his questioning sessions are being video recorded by the CBI on his request.

Ghosh, who arrived here shortly after 10 am, sought blessings of goddess Saraswati at a pandal, barely 100 metres from the CBI office, before entering the highly secured office of the investigating agency at Oakland.

"Both are being questioned and were made to sit face to face in the later half of the day. Each of them were being questioned separately in the initial period," an official privy to the investigation told PTI, requesting anonymity.

The former Trinamool Congress MP was arrested in 2013 in the Saradha ponzi scam and has been out on bail since 2016.

Ghosh, before entering the CBI premises, told media persons, "I have no comments (to make). I have been asked to attend a hearing at this office. All along I have been cooperating with the investigating agency. So, I came to attend it."

Ghosh had implicated BJP leader Mukul Roy, who was once the right hand man of Banerjee, and 12 others in the Saradha scam.

The Supreme Court had directed Kumar on Tuesday to appear before the CBI and "faithfully" cooperate in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam.

The court chose Shillong as the neutral meeting place "to avoid all unnecessary controversy" and made it clear that Kumar would not be arrested.

The CBI had moved the Supreme Court after its officials were thwarted by the Kolkata Police when they had gone to Kumar's official residence in Kolkata to question him on February 3.

Banerjee had rushed to the spot and had staged a three-day 'Save the Constitution' sit-in against the CBI move and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah of plotting a "coup".

The central investigating agency had said that its officials had wanted to question Kumar to plug the holes in the Saradha investigation case as he was supposed to be in possession of certain key documents as a member of the SIT.

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