Calcutta HC rejects Saradha accused Mitra’s bail plea

As senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal appeared for his political rival, TMC’s Madan Mitra in the Court, Congress leaders were unhappy

Kolkata : Yet again another court turned down bail plea of under-trial Transport Minister of West Bengal, Madan Mitra on Thursday. Interestingly, though Congress in the state has been engaged in a serious political battle with Mitra’s Trinamool Congress Party, former union minister and senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal appeared for his political rival causing much embarrassment for state Congress.

Though Sibal pressed for Mitra’s bail, telling the division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Asha Arora in High Court that section 409 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with criminal breach of trust by public servant, was not applicable against Mitra as he was not connected with the scam-tainted Saradha Group, the bench was not convinced.

Mitra’s lawyer also asserted that Mitra will neither abscond nor exert any kind of influence on the witnesses. But Sibal’s pleading failed to hold much water when probe agency Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) counsel K. Raghavacharyulu said if Mitra was granted bail, he would influence witnesses and disrupt the investigation.

He contended that it was a result of Mitra’s influence that he still continues to be a minister and has been spending most part of his jail custody in the comforts of a VIP cabin at the government-run SSKM Hospital.

After hearing both the parties, the court rejected Mitra’s bail plea.

Mitra was arrested on December 12 last year by the CBI. He was the first minister of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet who was arrested for his alleged involvement in Saradah scam.

Earlier Mitra had filed his bail application with the district court but the petition was rejected. Subsequent to this, his battery of lawyers also filed bail petition in the High Court several times. But most of the judges either sent the case back to lower court or rejected to hear the case on personal grounds.

Ambar Mukherjee

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