The Kolkata police conducted raids in two properties allegedly linked to former interim CBI director Nageshwar Rao's wife, in a sign that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not willing to back down in the war of attrition against the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The raids were conducted a day before Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar appeared before the CBI team investigating the Saradha chit fund scam in Shillong. The Kolkata police alleged that Nageshwar Rao's wife Mannem Sandhya had conducted a series of transactions with Angela Mercantiles Pvt Ltd (AMPL) in Kolkata. AMPL is a non-banking finance company (NBFC) based in Kolkata.
However, on Friday evening Rao denied his family had any connection with the companies raided. "In light of certain reports appearing in some media outlets, including some TV channels today linking my family members with a company on which Kolkata Police has carried out raids, I want to state that I had already clarified regarding this issue through a signed press statement on 30th October, 2018," Rao told NDTV on Friday.
Last Sunday, the CBI had attempted to search Rajeev Kumar's house alleging that he hadn't submitted documents seized during the SIT probe into the Sharadha and Rose Valley chit fund scam to the CBI. The CBI move to question Kumar at his residence led to dramatic developments, with Kolkata police arresting the CBI team. The Supreme Court later asked Kumar to appear before the CBI team in a neutral place and instructed the central agency not to arrest him.
Rao said on Friday that the CBI strongly suspected Kumar's involvement in changing the course of the investigation into the Ponzi scheme. "The state SIT, headed by Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, which was earlier probing the case seized voluminous documents but they were never handed over to us. We issued a notice to Rajeev Kumar but he failed to appear. With no other way in hand, we decided to interrogate him," Rao had told India Today TV on February.
"The state SIT, headed by Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, which was earlier probing the case seized voluminous documents but they were never handed over to us. We issued a notice to Rajeev Kumar but he failed to appear. With no other way in hand, we decided to interrogate him
Mamata Banerjee's three-day dharna protesting against the CBI move made national headlines, with opposition leaders rushing to Kolkata to pledge support to her. Mamata alleged the Modi government was using central agencies against political opponents, while the Centre accused her of undermining the centre-state equation and defying a supreme court order.