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Saradha Chit Fund scam: Kolkata ex-top cop Rajeev Kumar not safe from arrest

Kumar, who had moved an application for extension of the deadline, filed a fresh petition in SC for staying his arrest.

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The Supreme Court on Friday refused to extend protection from arrest granted to former Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha Chit Fund scam. The court, which allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to arrest Kumar for custodial interrogation a week back, had given Kumar time to seek an order from the competent court in Bengal. The deadline for this expired on May 24.

Kumar, who had moved an application for extension of the deadline, filed a fresh petition in SC for staying his arrest. His advocate, Sunil Fernandes, said that as courts in Kolkata were on strike, there was no way Kumar could seek legal remedy against arrest. He further pointed out that in the recent past, the apex court had passed similar orders protecting persons due to the ongoing strike.

The Vacation Bench pointed out that it cannot hear a writ petition as an earlier application by Kumar is pending before a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi.

That bench had withdrawn its February 5 order protecting Kumar on May 17. This allowed the CBI to take all steps necessary for the investigation. "Your application for protection is pending before the CJI. Do you want us to pass any harsh comments? Once the CJI has declined the urgent listing of your applications, you cannot file this fresh petition," it said, dismissing the petition.

The Bench also asked Kumar to instead, approach Calcutta High Court or the trial courts there as only lawyers were on strike, but courts are still functioning. When Fernandes stated to the contrary, "You are wrong," said the Bench. "All judges are sitting in courts and they are hearing litigants. Your client is a former (police) commissioner. He knows the law better than many young lawyers. He can personally go to courts there."

Interestingly, while these proceedings were on, another Vacation bench headed by Justice MR Shah, in the adjacent court stayed arrest in a case from West Bengal on the grounds that the person cannot approach the trial courts or the high court due to an ongoing strike.

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