No proof Kolkata CP destroyed evidence: CJI Gogoi to Centre
Supreme Court will take up the CBI petition today
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to give an urgent hearing to CBI's plea alleging destruction of electronic evidence related to the Saradha chit fund scam case by the Kolkata Police commissioner and said it would come down heavily on him if he "even remotely" tries to destroy the evidence.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said an "extraordinary situation" which has happened Sunday in which CBI officials were arrested in Kolkata, and Jt Director, CBI and his family were kept hostage. He alleged that on Sunday night CBI officers were taken into custody by the West Bengal Police when they had gone to the Kolkata police Commissioner's residence for evidence in connection with the probe in the Saradha scam.
Mehta said not only were the sleuths arrested but the residence of Joint Director (East) the state police and his family surrounded Pankaj Shrivastav was kept hostage.
Even the CBI office at the CGO complex in Kolkata was under siege, the law officer said.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said there is "no evidence that Kolkata police is destroying evidence."
Appearing for West Bengal government, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the Supreme Court that it is witch hunt by the CBI as the Kolkata police chief is a witness and not an accused in the case. But, the bench told him to keep ready the defences of state government ready Tuesday, when it will hear the case.
Around 40 CBI officers arrived at the Kolkata police commissioner's home Sunday evening, alleged the state's ruling Trinamool Congress, adding that they tried to question him without a warrant.
The CBI alleges that the police chief had not responded to its repeated summons over the past two years; he had also skipped an Election Commission meeting on poll preparations.
Mamata Banerjee is sitting on a dharna, accusing the ruling BJP at the centre of orchestrating a CBI team's visit to the Kolkata top cop's home in a larger fight for dominance in Bengal. The Kolkata police refused to let the CBI officers enter and temporarily detained them at a police station.
Rajeev Kumar - who headed the Special Investigation Team probing the Saradha and Rose Valley Ponzi scams that surfaced in 2013 - was asked to help with the investigation after several key documents allegedly went missing.
Later on Monday evening, CBI filed a contempt plea in the apex Court against West Bengal's chief secretary, DGP and Kolkata police commissioner for wilful and deliberate violation of apex court's orders.