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Mitra’s bail prayer rejected again

Madan Mitra

Kolkata: A city court today rejected the bail plea of West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra in Saradha chit fund scam case as his counsel, while seeking the relief for his client, quoted a witness as saying that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee graced a Saradha Group programme.

Acting District and Sessions Judge, Alipore court, Lakshmi Kanta Das rejected the bail prayer of Mitra.

Appearing for Mitra, senior counsel Milon Mukherjee submitted that one of the witnesses had in a sworn statement said that while reposing faith in the Saradha Group, he was influenced by three points including the presence of Mamata Banerjee at the inauguration of ‘Kalam’, a Bengali newspaper owned by the chitfund company’s media wing.

The witness, Ashraf Ali from Malda district, said that he had also been influenced by knowing that Madan Mitra was the president of the workers’s union of Saradha Group on seeing a photo frame at the company’s office here.

Ali, who had deposited money in Saradha Group’s chit fund scheme, had said that his local MP Abu Hasem Khan Chowdhury’s “good” words about Saradha Group had also helped him in taking a decision in favour of depositing money in its scheme.

Stating these, Mukherjee submitted before the judge that when the witness has named three political figures, why would Mitra be kept under incarceration.

“Why is he (Mitra) being made a scapegoat?” the counsel said while seeking bail.

Mitra, who is in judicial remand, is at present lodged in state-run SSKM Hospital.

Mukherjee further submitted that Mitra, who is in custody for the last 195 days, was no more an influential person and that he would abide by any condition imposed by the court.

CBI counsel K Raghava Charyulu, opposing the bail plea, submitted that Mitra was still a minister in West Bengal Cabinet and as such was a very influential person.

He stated that Mitra had spent a large part of his days in custody at SSKM Hospital with full facilities and that he has been given special treatment there.

Charyulu submitted that the scam, involving over Rs 2,500 crores and spanning several states, was still under investigation and that a bail for the minister at this stage would affect the probe.

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