Kolkata / New Delhi: With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s ‘save the constitution’ dharna entering day 2 in Kolkata, the Supreme Court today postponed to Tuesday the hearing of a CBI plea against city Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar who is accused of destroying evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, who is representing CBI had argued in Court that the CBI joint director was held hostage at the CBI office (in Kolkata’s Salt Lake) and these were ‘some extraordinary circumstances’ that needed urgent hearing.
However, the apex court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that it did not find anything in the application regarding the destruction of evidence when the CBI moved the court for an urgent hearing pertaining to investigation in the Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scam. He posted the matter for hearing at 10.30 am tomorrow.
The CBI plea had come hours after Mamata Banerjee took on the Centre following a visit by a CBI team to Rajeev Kumar’s residence yesterday. The CBI approached the Supreme Court against the ‘non-cooperation’ of the West Bengal government after the Kolkata Police detained and then released CBI officials who visited Kolkata to question Rajeev Kumar.
Reports have said that the CBI will move the Supreme Court on Tuesday to seek contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De, DGP Virendra and Commissioner Rajeev Kumar. It will also seek a directive for the Kolkata Police Commissioner to join the investigation.
Meanwhile, leaders of opposition parties have come out in support of the Banerjee’s dharna. From Tamilnadu, DMK president MK Stalin tweeted: “The independence of every institution has been compromised under this fascist BJP Government. I stand with @MamataOfficial Didi in her fight to protect the federal structure of this country and to save democracy.#SaveDemocracy.”
Meanwhile, the issue rocked the Parliament today with opposition parties raising it. On the standoff between the State and Central government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha said, “The CBI team went only after Supreme Court order. The Police Commissioner was summoned many times but he did not appear. I have spoken to Governor so that the CBI team is given protection and the West Bengal government should also help co-operate. CRPF teams had to reach yesterday because of the overpowering of the CBI team by police. This is constitutional as we have proceeded only with top court order. There may be a constitutional breakdown in West Bengal. The Kolkata Police-CBI face-off was unfortunate and stopping CBI from performing duty was unprecedented.”