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Officers from India’s anti-corruption body, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), ended up in a showdown with Kolkata police at the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar on February 3. A team of eight CBI officials went to Kumar’s house to question him about the infamous Saradha chit fund case.
The CBI is the equivalent to the United State’s Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Saradha scam was one of the country’s biggest financial scams, luring millions of investors to deposit money in the form of chit funds. A chit fund is a type of rotating savings and credit association system practiced in India. The company reportedly made up to 12 billion rupees before it collapsed in 2013. The opposition claimed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and members of her Trinamool Congress party had close ties with the company.
The CBI alleged Kumar was in possession of crucial documents about the chit fund scam which he allegedly seized while heading a Special Investigation Team. But when the CBI officials tried to arrest him, Bengal police arrested the officials.
A CBI officer told India Today: “We wanted some clarity on the documents given to us by the Special Investigation Team after we took over the case in 2014 after the Supreme Court’s order. During the investigations, we found that a few crucial documents are missing and a few documents, we suspect, have been manipulated. To clarify this part, we wanted to examine all the members of the team including Kumar.”
Kumar headed the probe into the Saradha scam, but on a Supreme Court order in 2014, the case was transferred to the CBI.
The CBI alleged Kumar had been summoned four times but refused to present himself for questioning. The CBI then went to his residence after getting permission from the state Director General of Police to arrest him.
Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee also arrived at the police commissioner’s residence to defend him. She accused the government of trying to malign her because she organized a large opposition rally earlier this month. The leaders of several opposition parties have also expressed their support for Banerjee.
Meanwhile, the CBI has also requested contempt charges be bought against Banerjee and Kumar.