New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in an affidavit to the Supreme Court on a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De, DGP Virendra Kumar and former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar, in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, on Saturday said that there is ‘larger conspiracy between highly placed state authorities and companies under probe’.

On February 20, Supreme Court judge, Justice L Nageswara Rao, recused himself from hearing the CBI’s plea alleging obstruction in its probe into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam probe by West Bengal authorities. Justice Rao said he had appeared for the state as a lawyer and therefore cannot hear the case. The bench has now posted the hearing on pleas of the CBI for February 27.

The three officers had on Monday filed their affidavits on the contempt plea and refuted the allegations levelled by the CBI. They also tendered an unconditional and unambiguous apology for alleged disobedience of the court, while asserting that they had neither obstructed a probe into the Saradha chit fund scam cases nor any official denied cooperation to CBI.

In their affidavit, the officers also denied CBI’s allegation that they were tampering with evidence.

The CBI had filed the contempt plea in the Supreme Court against the three officers for alleged willful and deliberate violation of the top court’s orders.

The plea was filed after an unprecedented chain of events took place on February 3 when a CBI team was detained by the Kolkata Police after they reached Kumar’s residence and subsequently Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also rushed to his residence. The CBI officers were taken to police station and released later.

Rajeev Kumar was questioned by the CBI sleuths in Shillong, Meghalaya, on the order of the Supreme Court. The apex court had asked him to ‘faithfully’ cooperate with the CBI in the investigation of cases arising out of the Saradha chit fund scam probe. It had also directed the probe agency not to take any coercive steps including the arrest of Rajeev Kumar.