04 Feb 2019
CBI v/s Kolkata police: Supreme Court defers hearing to Tuesday
CBI's plea related to the investigation in Saradha chit fund scam will be heard tomorrow, the Supreme Court said on Monday.
The federal agency moved court after Kolkata police detained its officials who had gone to Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar's residence for interrogation.
On claims that Kumar wanted to destroy evidence, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said if proved he will be taught a lesson.
Backstory: Why does CBI want to probe Kumar?
Kumar headed the SIT which was formed to investigate the chit fund scam. CBI officials believe Kumar hid important documents related to the probe and didn't hand it over to the federal agency.
He was repeatedly summoned by the CBI but didn't respond.
After multiple attempts to get the documents, CBI went to his house on Sunday for questioning, leading to the showdown.
Banerjee supports police commissioner, sits on dharna
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stood by Kumar and accused Centre of misusing CBI for political gains.
She met Kumar at his residence on Sunday and then sat on a dharna in Central Kolkata. She called it a satyagraha which won't end till 'democracy is saved'.
In her fight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she got the support of other opposition leaders.
CBI approached top court against Bengal government
While the drama turned political, CBI didn't sit silently. The agency approached SC against the Bengal government.
Manhandling its officers amounted to 'obstruction of justice', the CBI claimed.
Earlier, interim chief, M Nageshwar Rao, had said the agency has enough evidence against Kumar. Rao also claimed Kolkata police harassed CBI officials in the past whenever they wanted to question Kumar or others.
Solicitor Tushar Mehta tells court what happened on Sunday
Appearing for CBI, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta slammed Kolkata police. He said police laid siege at offices of CBI and surrounded the director's home holding his family 'hostage'. The troops withdrew after the top officer made few calls, Mehta informed the court.
He added the 'extraordinary situation' forced CBI to approach SC.
Mehta also expressed disappointment over the presence of police officers in the political dharna.
CJI Gogoi says court will act if evidence is destroyed
Mehta reiterated CBI's claims that Kumar didn't cooperate in the probe and wanted to destroy important evidence.
These allegations miffed CJI Gogoi who asked Mehta to furnish material to prove it.
"If Kolkata Police Commissioner even remotely thinks of destroying evidence, bring the material before this Court. We will come down so heavily on him that he will regret," CJI Gogoi said.
Meanwhile, Singhvi said Kumar was a victim of 'witchhunt'
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for West Bengal government, told the apex court that CBI has launched a witchhunt against Kumar.
He said Kumar was a witness and not an accused in the case.
The bench asked Singhvi to keep his defense ready when the case comes up for hearing.
Before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, this is just a trailer.