Saradha scam: Contempt case made alive during polls, Bengal to SC


Amid the hearing of contempt plea filed by CBI against former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar and others in Saradha chit fund scam, the West Bengal government told the Supreme Court that such cases become alive during elections.

Assembly election in West Bengal is likely scheduled April/May. Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing the West Bengal government, submitted before a bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna that the investigating agency was “reviving something which is age old”.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, said that “the contempt always remains alive”. Singhvi rebutted that it becomes alive during elections.

The CBI has alleged the senior officials are not cooperating in the probe into the multi-crore-rupee scam.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court deferred the hearing by two weeks on CBI’s contempt plea against Kumar and others. Deferring the case, the bench cited final hearing in the winding up of six mutual fund schemes of Franklin Templeton as the reason.

The CBI in February 2019 had filed a contempt plea against Kumar, former Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De and state’s DGP. The CBI had sought cancellation of bail granted to Kumar.

Seeking custodial interrogation of Kumar, the CBI had said the investigation has revealed that evidence, which connected the ruling dispensation of West Bengal, financially and otherwise with Saradha group of ponzi companies was concealed by the Bidhannagar police under stewardship of Kumar, in order to shield and save everyone concerned.

The scam was unearthed in 2013, during Kumar’s tenure as the Bidhannagar police commissioner. Kumar was part of the SIT set up by state government to probe the scam, before the top court handed over the investigation to the CBI in 2014.

The top court, in November 2019, had sought the response of the IPS officer on the CBI’s appeal against the anticipatory bail granted to him in the scam by the Calcutta High Court. The Saradha group of companies allegedly duped thousands of people of around Rs 2,500 crore, promising higher rates of return on investments.