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Kolkata: Supreme Court has issued contempt notice to Bengal Chief secretary Malay De, director general of police Virendra and, Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar on a CBI petition that the state administration stopped it from carrying out official duty in connection with the chit-fund scam probe.

The apex court has also directed Kumar to appear before the CBI for questioning at a neutral venue in Shillong in Meghalaya. CBI has, however, been directed not to take any coercive steps, such as arrest, against Kumar until further order.

CBI had moved the SC yesterday 4 February, a day after CBI officers were physically prevented by Kolkata Police from questioning Kumar in the chit-fund scam and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched an indefinite dharna alleging that the Centre is waging a vendetta against her government by misusing the CBI.

Hearing the petition today, a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued contempt notices to the three Bengal officials and asked them to furnish a reply by 18 February.

The court will examine their reply on 20 February and decide whether the officials need to personally appear in the SC for contempt of court.

The top court has also directed Kumar to appear before the CBI and cooperate in the chit-fund scam probe that is being conducted on an order of the SC. Acting on a submission from the Bengal government, the court has directed the CBI to question Kumar at a neutral venue Shillong.

CBI has been alleging that Kumar was inferring in the investigation and was trying to destruct evidence in the chit-fund scam.

Notwithstanding the contempt notices issued to three senior officials of the state, Mamata Banerjee maintained that today’s order of the SC is a “victory.”

She has said that she will consult her Trinamool leaders and leaders of other Opposition parties and decide how long her dharna shall continue. Yesterday she had said that the dharna will continue till 8 February.

“I am not only pleading for Rajeev Kumar I am pleading for millions of people. We have no quarrel with Central forces. We respect Central forces more than forces from Bengal…Jeet humko nahin mili , jeet desh ki janta ko mili. Jeet Constitution ko mili,” Banerjee said.

“Rajeev Kumar will not be arrested today is not my victory, it is a victory to saving India. A moral victory for the people of Bengal, moral victory for people of the country,” she has added.

In a related development, the Calcutta High Court has adjourned the hearing of a contempt petition filed by Bengal government against the CBI till Thursday 7 February in view of the developments in the Supreme Court.

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