Mystery man appears during Kolkata top cop’s interrogation

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Investigating Officer in Chit Fund scam case, Saibal Tripathi

SHILLONG, Feb 12: The presence of a man whose facial features were kept hidden during the interrogation of Kolkata police chief, Rajeev Kumar here on Tuesday has raised quite a few questions as to his identity.

It was only later learned that the masked man was in fact the Investigating Officer in the case, Saibal Tripathi who was brought to the CBI office well guarded in a vehicle.

Meanwhile, Kumar was grilled without any respite for the fourth consecutive day by the CBI in Shillong.

According to sources, Kumar have been skipping questions and that is why the CBI has been continuing with the interrogation for four days at a stretch.

Kumar is being questioned for his alleged role in tampering electronic evidence when he was heading the Special Investigating Team (SIT) to probe the Saradha Chit fund case.

Kolkata Police Chief Rajeev Kumar

Kumar arrived at the CBI office at 10: 45 am and the interrogation started at 11: am.

Meanwhile, former Trinamool Congress MP Kunal Ghosh, who was interrogated along with Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar by the CBI in Saradha and Rose Valley chit fund scams, said on Tuesday he has lodged an “official complaint” against the top cop for allegedly influencing the ongoing probe.

Earlier in the day, Ghosh said Kumar’s interrogation in the Ponzi scam case was long overdue and claimed many conspirators were still outside the purview of the probe.

“I have lodged a written complaint to the CBI against Kumar today (Tuesday) morning. During our face to face interrogation on February 10, certain Kolkata Police officers were named. But Kumar called up some of those officers after leaving the CBI office that night,” claimed Ghosh, who returned to the city from Shillong, where Kumar is being interrogated.

“These officers were part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by the state government to probe the ponzi scams. They can be influential leads in the probe. By calling these officers, Kumar is trying to influence the probe,” he alleged.

Former TMC MP Kunal Ghosh talking to reporters after the CBI questioning in Shillong. File Photo.

Unless strict action is taken against Kumar, the outcome of the probe might not be entirely fruitful, he added.

“I have written to the CBI the way Kumar is contacting those who could become important witnesses in the probe, may influence the process. Strictest action should be taken against him,” he claimed.

When asked how did he knew about Kumar’s telephonic interactions with the police officers, Ghosh said Kumar himself “accidentally disclosed” that during the interrogation on January 11.

“Kumar himself told the interrogators that he had called some of those officers. He might have disclosed it unconsciously. But his statement is video recorded. There is no need to check his call details for this,” he said.

Ghosh, arrested in November 2013 in connection with the two chit fund scams and later granted interim bail by the Calcutta High Court in 2016, refused to make any comment regarding the investigation or the joint interrogation as the process is still on.

However, he claimed it was a “moral victory” for him that Kumar who refused to listen to him six years ago (during Ghosh’s time in prison) was forced to sit with him and listen to his allegations.

Ghosh said he would not term the status of the probe to satisfactory or unsatisfactory as he is sceptic about the “long arm of the influential”.

“When I sought justice in 2013, Kumar did not care about me. I felt bad seeing that an IPS officer like him has to face hours of questioning on this issue. Had he played an active role at that time, he would not have to face the CBI interrogation in Shillong now,” Ghosh claimed.

The CBI interrogated Ghosh and Kumar together for several hours on Sunday and Monday, and recorded their statements.

The probe agency summoned Kumar for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday for questioning.