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Ex-ED officer Manoj Kumar fails to get bail in extortion case

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of former Enforcement Directorate (ED) Assistant Director Manoj Kumar in connection with an extortion case that was lodged against him by a chartered accountant (CA), Komal Somani, with the Shakespeare Sarani police station.

Somani had lodged the complaint with the police station on February 28, alleging that one Pradeep Kumar Hirawat, owner of a travel agency with its office at 14/2, Old China Bazar near Burrabaza, used to take money from him by taking the name of Kumar.

He started to demand extortion money after a team of ED officials heard by Kumar had conducted a raid in his office on May 12, 2016. The police arrested Hirawat on March 1 and were probing the role of Kumar in the alleged collection of extortion money.

On Wednesday, the cops submitted the case dairy to the High Court and Kumar's bail plea was rejected after the Court went through the findings of the police in this connection.

The police found after their preliminary investigation and interrogation of Hirawat that he was a member of a syndicate that had been formed allegedly by Kumar to extort people. There were many such individuals who were allegedly planted to collect money "following directions of Kumar" — after a raid by the Enforcement Directorate was conducted.

The police have also come to know from call recordings that Kumar often used to have telephone conversation with Hirawat. It is learnt that the investigating officers have also come to know about some bank accounts in the name of "close relatives" of Kumar. They suspect that the money collected by agents of the syndicate used to get deposited in those bank accounts.

The police have also found that Hirawat's travel agency used to book air tickets for Kumar. Incidentally, the same travel agency also booked air tickets and hotels quite a few times forboth Kumar and Subhra Kundu, wife of Rose Valley Group Chairman Gautam Kundu.

It may be mentioned that Kumar was suspended from his post of Enforcement Directorate assistant director after video footages and photographs were found showing him and Subhra in the lobby of a Delhi hotel. Although he had claimed that he had gone there along with Subhra for the sake of an investigation in connection with the Rose Valley Group scam that was being probed by the Enforcement Directorate, the central investigating agency brass held an enquiry and suspended Kumar.

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