The Supreme Court granted interim protection to officials of Kolkata/West Bengal Police from arrest in an FIR registered by the CBI against the unidentified officers and further allowed the CBI to continue with the investigation of the case.

The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice M.M. Sundresh passed the following order-

“Till the next date of hearing, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can continue with the investigation in accordance with law...We also deem it appropriate to direct that officers/employees of the West Bengal/Kolkata Police will not be arrested till the next date of hearing. Liberty is granted to the parties to move an appropriate application for modification of the interim order.”

The Apex Court further directed the officers/employees of the West Bengal/Kolkata Police to join and cooperate in the investigation.

Senior Advocate Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared for the petitioner and ASG Sanjay Jain appeared for the respondent.

Factual Background of the case-

On July 31, 2022, complaint was made by Amit Kumar Agarwal with the Officer-in-charge of the Hare Street Police Station in Kolkata against Rajeev Kumar, a Counsel who represented the petitioner in the PIL filed against Hemant Soren, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand.

It was alleged in the complaint that Kumar had asked for bribe to withdraw another PIL which was pending before the Jharkhand High Court. ECIR case was registered against the complainant-petitioner Agarwal under Section 120B, 384 of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 7A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The Agarwal had then approached the Jharkhand High Court for quashing the ECIR and all subsequent proceedings whereby the impugned judgment was passed.

During the course of hearing, the counsel for the ED pointed out the statement of Rajeev Kumar that after his by Kolkata Police, he was repeatedly forced about his acquaintances with the Judges of Jharkhand High Court, Government officials of ED, CBI and IB. The police were continuously repeating and pressurizing him to say that he had extorted money for Government officials and the judiciary.

The High Court directed the CBI to initiate a preliminary inquiry into the conduct of the complainant-petitioner and observed that “In the case in hand, this petitioner has tried to scandalize the judiciary, ED officials and Government officials particularly considering that Hare Street P.S. Case was registered with the police station, which was not within the jurisdiction of resident or office of the petitioner, which suggests that there is larger conspiracy to malign the image of judiciary, ED and other officials including the Court staff, which is a serious matter and this all has come in the investigation of the ED. Such type of allegation brought to the knowledge of the Court cannot be allowed to go unattended. The public at large expected a fair, honest and impartial inquiry and investigation.”

Thereafter, an FIR was filed by the CBI, wherein Agarwal and unknown officials of Kolkata Police were named as accused.

Accordingly, permission to file special leave petition was granted.

Cause Title- Commissioner of Police Kolkata Police v. Amit Kumar Agarwal

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