Mamata Banerjee vs CBI: Who is Rajeev Kumar

Rajeev Kumar, the Kolkata Police commissioner, is in the spotlight as the battle between the West Bengal government and CBI took an ugly turn.

Mamata Banerjee vs CBI: Who is Rajeev Kumar
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Kolkata: Rajeev Kumar is the current commissioner of Kolkata Police. He is a 1989-batch IPS officer of West Bengal. Kumar was appointed as the Commissioner of Kolkata Police in 2016, replacing Surajit Kar Purakayastha. Purakayastha was promoted to CID.

Before being appointed as Kolkata Police Commissioner, Kumar had worked as Commissioner of Police, Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate and as Special Task Force (STF) chief under Kolkata Police.

Why CBI wants to quiz Rajeev Kumar?

Rajeev Kumar was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing chit fund scams. He had led the probe into Saradha and Rose Valley scams that were unearthed in West Bengal in 2013.

Rajeev Kumar, 53, is a graduate in Computer Science from IIT, Roorkee (then University of Roorkee).

CBI wants to quiz Rajeev Kumar about several key documents that had allegedly gone missing. Rajeev Kumar and a few more officials were even 
asked by the CBI to join the investigation but they refused to help the CBI in its probe.

The CBI has claimed that its probe is aimed at locating crucial evidence linked to larger conspiracy behind the chit funds.

Pankaj Srivastav, CBI Joint Director in Kolkata told The Indian Express that crucial evidence was not handed over to the agency and that it was destroyed.

"We are looking into the larger conspiracy connected to the chit fund scams," he said.

The case was taken over by the CBI in 2014 after the Supreme Court's order. Citing a CBI official linked to the investigation, the IE report said that during the interrogation of persons arrested in the scam, it was found that crucial evidence gathered by the SIT was not handed over to the CBI. The documents include pen, diary, pen drives and documents seized from Sen'a residence

The CBI moved the Supreme Court alleging Rajeev Kumar was involved in the destruction of electronic evidence related to Saradha chit fund scam. On Tuesday, the apex court said that while no coercive action may be taken against Kumar, he was directed to cooperate with CBI.

* Kumar is a BE in computer science from the erstwhile University of Roorkee (now the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee). His roots are in Uttar Pradesh and he is married to an Indian Revenue Service officer. The couple have a son. 

* His first posting as officer-in-charge of Durgapur police station was followed by multiple assignments in Calcutta and Bengal police's jurisdiction, including superintendent of police (SP), Birbhum; special SP, enforcement branch; deputy commissioner, enforcement branch; deputy commissioner, central division; special SP, CID; deputy inspector-general, CID (operations); joint commissioner, Special Task Force; additional commissioner, Calcutta police; commissioner, Bidhannagar police; and additional director-general, CID.

* Within 24 hours of coming to power in May 2011, chief minister Mamata had enquired about Kumar. She might have shunted him out immediately but for senior officials recommending him as a "very good officer" who could be of use to her. 

* An officer who has worked under him said Kumar would sometimes squeeze a few minutes out of an interrogation session and fulfil his quota of exercise with a few push-ups in his office.

* Kumar's skills in electronic surveillance as the chief of the Special Task Force had helped the Mamata government fight Maoists in Jungle Mahal. He is said to have developed his "snooping" skills as the special SP, CID.

* Kumar had once almost laid his hands on a Chhota Rajan aide hiding in Calcutta but allegedly aborted the operation on learning that he was "a source for a central agency".

* According to sources, just when STF officers posing as journalists had lured Chhatradhar Mahato into a trap before his arrest, Kumar was within 100 metres of the spot. 

* As SP, Burdwan, Kumar had been tipped off about the presence of a sophisticated weapon in the house of a CPM zonal leader in Purulia. Kumar dared to search the house of a ruling party leader when many would have developed cold feet and it was carried out without informing the local police. The leader fled before Kumar's team closed in and the weapon wasn't found.

* A contemporary describes him thus: "A little disorganised, yet one of the best brains in Bengal police.... A true friend who most of his batchmates bank on when they visit Bengal, but someone who never forgets or forgives either."