Kolkata: Is senior IPS officer Rajeev Kumar supervising the legal duel with the CBI from his official residence 34, Park Street? Or is he keeping a close watch on the developments from some other safe house here after evading multiple summons from the central probe agency for appearing before investigators in connection with the Saradha scam probe?
Has Kumar, the present additional director general of the state Criminal Investigation Department silently slipped out of the city — these are the million-dollar questions floating all around as the CBI prepares to launch a massive manhunt to pinpoint the location of supposedly the most discussed, and most-wanted man in Kolkata now.
The former Kolkata Police Commissioner was last seen in public on Friday, when the Calcutta High Court withdrew the interim protection from arrest given to him in the ponzi scam case.
Since then, Kumar — officially on leave from September 9 to 25 — has been virtually “incommunicado” — the term was used by the state police Director General Virendra in a formal response to a letter from the CBI seeking information about his whereabouts.
According to CBI sources, Kumar’s two official mobile numbers and the mobile phone of his bodyguard were switched off. The CBI officers who went to the Park Street house on Friday to serve a notice to him for appearing before them for questioning also could not meet him. The notice was apparently received by a relative.
Over the past five days, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has served two more notices on the 1989 batch IPS Officer, but none of them were received by him personally.
With Kumar disappearing from the public eye — at least till this moment — and the CBI hardening its stand to get him in its custody, the battle of attrition between the winner of the 2015 President’s medal and the high-profile agency is only getting more and more interesting.
The CBI officers have been holding frequent meetings, and trying to make use of their sources to pinpoint Kumar’s location. It formed a 12-member special team to track down the shrewd officer.
The team, according to sources, comprise officers from the agency’s Uttar Pradesh, Kolkata and Delhi offices.
While Kumar hails from Uttar Pradesh, he opted for the Bengal cadre after getting into the IPS.
However, much speculation centres around Kumar staying put at his official residence, with sources saying such a possibility could be high.
Interestingly, after a section of the media started floating theories about Kumar’s whereabouts hours after the Calcutta High Court withdrew his protection from arrest, the police quietly “leaked that he was at 34, Park Street “consulting his legal team”.
There has been a huge security presence outside the address, with both uniformed and civil dress police personnel on duty.
Not discounting the possibility of the ‘leak’ being a red herring, the CBI had to alert aviation authorities and the police in neighbouring states to prevent any chance of Kumar slipping out.
However, those concluding Kumar to be at 34, Park street, advance a double logic.
First, Kumar in his leave application is said to have mentioned his address as 34, Park Street during the leave period. It is mandatory for a government official, more so for an officer of the stature of Kumar, to mention his contact details while on leave so that he can be contacted in an emergency.
“If an officer wants to leave station, he needs to take prior permission from his reporting boss. If he has not done so, and still leaves station, then that is a breach of discipline,” said a former IPS officer.
The second indicator was the movement of two close aides of Kumar, who were seen entering the Park Street quarters with files at around 11.15 a.m. on Wednesday. They left after a couple of minutes, evading queries from mediapersons.
Kumar, who headed the special investigation team (SIT) constituted by the state’s Mamata Banerjee government in 2013 to probe the Saradha scam, is accused of tampering with evidence in this case.
The Supreme Court in 2014 handed over the case to the CBI.
On Tuesday, Kumar’s efforts to get judicial relief suffered a setback as a district court ordered his anticipatory bail plea “not maintainable” citing jurisdictional issue.
Published on: Sep 18, 2019 at 15:07 IST