SHILLONG, Feb 5 - Kolkata Police chief Rajeev Kumar will be interrogated by the CBI here in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, and he has already got a message.
This message was sent out by none other than Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy after the Supreme Court today directed Kumar to be present before the CBI for interrogation in “neutral” Shillong.
“Hon’ble Supreme Court has very wisely chosen Shillong for CBI’s questioning Rajeev Kumar. Weather now is glorious, the rhododendrons will start blooming in a while. I’m sure the government will arrange for a comfortable venue for the parties. Welcome to the Scotland of the East!” Roy tweeted.
Roy’s reference to rhododendrons remains a mystery, although oil extracts from rhododendrons are known to have a calming effect on the mind. Rhododendrons are found near the Shillong peak.
Kumar has led the Special Investigation Team of West Bengal to probe the Saradha chit fund scam in which several TMC leaders are alleged to be involved.
The CBI has accused the Kolkata Police chief of tampering with vital evidence and is now a potential “co-accused” in the scam.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has hailed the verdict. The TMC supremo has also apparently no issue with Shillong being chosen as the venue of interrogation. “It is a beautiful place,” she said about the choice of venue at the rally in Kolkata where she is holding an agitation against the Centre.
However, Banerjee had earlier flayed the CBI for taking TMC leaders to neighbouring Odisha for questioning in the chit fund scam. In this context, the choice of Shillong is interesting because it is neither altogether neutral nor close to West Bengal.
First, the ruling National People’s party in Meghalaya is an ally of the NDA Government at the Centre. The Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, for that matter, is more neutral as its neither an ally of the NDA nor a part of the grand alliance of Banerjee.
Secondly, Shillong is twice the distance from Kolkata than Bhubaneswar, the Odisha capital.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has directed that the Kolkata Police chief cannot be arrested and coerced, but added that he must cooperate with the CBI “faithfully” during the course of his interrogation at “neutral” Shillong.
Kumar will be here before February 20, the next date of hearing in the Supreme Court. The CBI has a modest office at Oakland, but he may again be questioned in some other location, officials here said.