CBI moves Supreme Court against Airtel, Vodafone in Saradha chit fund probe, says telecom majors 'not cooperating'

The CBI told the Supreme Court that Airtel and Vodafone were not co-operating in the probe, adding that the telecom majors did not provide information on call detail records

FP Staff March 27, 2019 14:52:15 IST
CBI moves Supreme Court against Airtel, Vodafone in Saradha chit fund probe, says telecom majors 'not cooperating'
  • The investigating agency said these service providers were not co-operating in the probe, adding that the telecom majors did not provide information on call detail records

  • The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal had been in loggerheads with the CBI over investigation into Saradha chit fund probe

  • On 11 February 2019, the Supreme Court had refused to monitor the ongoing CBI investigation into the chit fund scam

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), on Wednesday, moved the Supreme Court against telecom majors Airtel and Vodafone for hampering probe in the Saradha funds deposit scam, reported News18. The move comes a day after the apex court had termed as "very very serious" the revelations made by the CBI in its fresh status report relating to questioning of former Kolkata Police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in connection with the case.

The investigating agency said the two service providers were not cooperating in the probe, adding that the telecom majors did not provide information on call detail records (CDR), reported CNBC-TV18. The cellular companies were evasive on questions asked by the West Bengal Police, CBI told the top court.

Speaking to Firstpost, the Airtel spokesperson said, "We can confirm that we have provided the information that the concerned authorities/investigating agencies had requested, and will continue to assist them.  As a responsible corporate, we have always been and shall remain compliant with the laws of the land."

CBI moves Supreme Court against Airtel Vodafone in Saradha chit fund probe says telecom majors not cooperating

One of the investors of Saradha group chit fund company during a protest demanding the refund of their money in Malda district of West Bengal. PTI

The Mamata Banerjee-led government in West Bengal had been in loggerheads with the CBI over investigation into the scam. This standoff first started when the CBI reached Kumar's residence on 3 February, 2019 to question him on the scam. Kumar had headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that was set-up to investigate the case in 2013.

The CBI had alleged that Kumar destroyed and tampered with material evidence in the form of CDRs of the prime accused and potential accused. The agency also claimed that companies like Saradha, Rose Valley and Tower Group had given huge contributions to the Trinamool Congress.

Banerjee subsequently sat on an indefinite strike in protest against the Centre. The West Bengal government had also moved Calcutta High Court against the CBI's attempt to question Kolkata police chief.

On 5 February, the Supreme Court had asked Kumar to appear before the agency and "faithfully" cooperate into the investigation of cases arising out of the chit fund scam, while it making it clear that he will not be arrested.

The top court, in the meanwhile, had refused to monitor the ongoing CBI investigation into the chit fund scam on 11 February, 2019 which was first transferred to the investigating agency in 2013.

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