Saradha scam: Bengal minister denied bail yet again

Kolkata, June 25 (IANS) A court here on Thursday yet again denied bail to West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested by the CBI for alleged complicity in the Saradha scam.

After hearing both prosecution and defence counsel’s arguements, Alipore’s First Additional District Judge Lakshmi Kanta Das rejected the bail plea.

Mitra’s counsel Milon Mukherjee contended that the minister was being made a “scapegoat”.

“The CBI has claimed that lakhs of depositors have been ruined by the Saradha but only a few witnesses have testified. And none of those witnesses have named Mitra in their statements,” counsel said.

Pointing to the statement of one of such witnesses, Mukherjee said he has named three political figures whose “favourable words” for Saradha encouraged him in investing in the company. “When those political figures have not been arrested, why is Mitra being made a scapegoat,” he argued.

Opposing the plea, Central Bureau’s counsel K. Raghavacharyulu also contended that Mitra being an influential person would hinder the investigation if he was granted the relief.

He noted that Mitra was still a minister despite being behind bars for over six months, to impress upon the court about the leader’s influence.

“Such is his influence that he has spent large part of his custody in the SSKM Hospital enjoying VIP amenities,” the CBI counsel said.

Charge sheeted for various offences including criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust in the multi-crore rupee scam, Mitra has been behind bars since his arrest by the CBI on December 12, 2014.

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