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Saradha scam: Madan Mitra denied bail by higher court

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By EMN Updated: Feb 11, 2015 10:19 pm
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IANS
KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 11

West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who is currently in custody in the multi-crore-rupee Saradha chit fund scam, was Wednesday denied bail by a court here.
Mitra moved the higher court of South 24 Parganas district and sessions judge Samaresh Prasad Chowdhury seeking bail, days after former Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member and co-accused Srinjoy Bose was granted the relief.
Pressing for his bail, Mitra’s counsel Milon Mukherjee contended that there was no direct evidence to prove his complicity in the scam and also questioned the way the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was probing the scam.“Mitra has been in custody since Dec 12 but the CBI has not given any direct evidence to suggest his complicity. Not a single depositor or witness has deposed that they were induced to invest in the Saradha group by Mitra,” said the defence counsel.
The defence counsel also questioned why the CBI has not taken any steps against the SEBI or the RBI which failed to check the scam.
Opposing the bail plea, CBI counsel K. Raghavcharyulu called the accused minister “Money Mitra” and said he had “sold his face” and allured poor people to invest in the tainted company.
“Mitra’s nexus and complicity is evident from the signboards in Saradha offices that show him as the president of the employees’ union. Not only that, as an MLA he had assured the company agents that he was there.
“The man who has sold his face to dupe poor investors now cannot say he is not guilty,” argued the CBI counsel.
The prosecution also urged the court to take a strict view while considering the bail plea as it involved an economic offence with wide ramification to the country’s economy.
“The agents were given an exorbitant brokerage of 30 percent which drove them to hunt for more and more depositors. Mitra assured these agents that he was with them asking them to carrying on,” said the CBI counsel.
The defence also pressed for the bail on health grounds after the minister was shifted to the government-run SSKM Hospital during the day.
Hearing both the parties, the court rejected the bail plea.
The court also opined that the ground on which Srinjoy Bose was granted bail did not apply in Mitra’s case as it relates to section 409 of the Indian Penal Code that deals with criminal breach of trust by public servant.
The section which carries a punishment of 10 years imprisonment allows the prosecution to file a charge sheet within 90 days from the day of arrest of the accused.
A court Feb 10 had incorporated the section following a plea by the CBI.
The CBI had made the plea for insertion of the section following Bose’s bail.

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By EMN Updated: Feb 11, 2015 10:19:19 pm