Madan Mitra denied bail, sent to CBI custody
Kolkata: A city court on Saturday denied bail to West Bengal Transport and Sports Minister Madan Mitra arrested in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam and sent him to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody till December 16.
Madan Mitra was produced at a local court in Kolkata on Saturday. Pic/PTI
The CBI arrested him on Friday for “prima facie evidence of criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation as well as deriving undue financial benefits from the Saradha group”, Mitra was presented before acting Chief Judicial Magistrate (Alipore) Kinshuk Sadhukhan amid heavy deployment of police personnel as hundreds of Trinamool Congress supporters gathered around the court premises shouting anti CBI slogans.
Pressing for his bail, Mitra’s counsel contended the arrest was illegal. “The CBI’s charges against Mitra do not stand because they are yet to produce any substantive evidence and whatever evidence is there is based on hearsay which is inadmissible in the court,” said the defense counsel Ashok Mukherjee.
Giving details about his interrogation at the CBI office in the city on Friday, Mitra said, “Everything was going fine and later joint director Rajiv Singh offered me tea. Singh said my statement is being recorded and once it is done, I may go home. Suddenly an officer came to me and said we have got a call from Delhi. We will have to arrest you,” said Mitra.
The counsel also cited his fragile health and submitted supporting documents seeking bail. Opposing Mitra’s bail plea, CBI counsel PS Dutta said the interrogation of the accused was essential to unravel the larger conspiracy concerning the scam. Seeking CBI custody of the accused for seven days, he submitted four volumes of the case diary in support.
After going through the case diary and the arguments, the CJM rejected the bail plea and remanded Mitra to CBI custody.
Mamata hits the streets over Mitra’s arrest
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday hit the streets to protest the arrest of her minister Madan Mitra in the Saradha scam, and wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be arrested for the Sahara scandal as he was photographed with the Sahara group chief who is now behind bars.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a protest rally over Madan Mitra’s arrest on Saturday. Pic/PTI
“A red diary was obtained after raiding the Sahara office. It had several big names. Empty vessels make more noise. There are images of the prime minister with the Sahara chief (Subrata Roy). Should we arrest the prime minister too?” Banerjee asked, as she led a demonstration protesting against the arrest of the state’s Transport and Sports Minister.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party, Banerjee said: “The BJP knows it cannot fight Trinamool politically. They are using the CBI to counter us. Common people have hit the streets today to protest against the politics of vendetta by the BJP.”