Kolkata, January 2:A court here on Friday again rejected the bail plea of West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested in the Saradha scam, and extended his judicial custody till January 16. On the expiry of his earlier judicial remand, Mitra was presented before Judicial Magistrate M.K. Roy, who extended his judicial custody by 14 days.
Pressing for his bail, Mitra’s counsel contended that the minister’s further detention in the custody was not required as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has finished its process of interrogating and collecting evidence from him.
“His further detention would tantamount to pre–trial conviction which is illegal. There have been many cases in which an under trial has been acquitted after he has spent years behind bars,” said Mitra’s counsel Ashok Mukherjee.
Mukherjee also cited the recent acquittal of Bharatiya Jata Party chief Amit Shah who was charged by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh staged shootout case.
“While acquitting Shah, the court said the CBI investigation was politically motivated. In the instant case too, the agency has been making only allegations but has failed to substantiate them with evidence which makes one wonder if the probe here too is politically motivated,” he contended.
Opposing the minister’s bail plea, CBI counsel P.S. Dutta claimed a huge amount was transferred to Mitra’s bank account and he encouraged investors to put money in Saradha.
The CBI counsel also argued that Mitra being an “influential and powerful” minister would tamper with evidences if he was enlarged on bail.
Refuting the CBI’s claims, Mitra told the court to hang him if it was proved that he has taken money.
“If it is proved that even a single penny was transferred to my account, then the court may hang me. I will be happy to be hanged,” Mitra asserted.
He also denied the CBI’s claims that he allured people to invest in the tainted company.
Claiming that Mitra enjoyed undue amenities inside the Alipore Correctiol Home where he is lodged, the CBI counsel also urged the court to direct the jail authorities to ensure that the jail code is strictly adhered to.
After hearing both the parties, the court extended Mitra’s judicial custody till Jan 16 and directed the jail authorities to provide his medical aid if and when required.
The senior Trimool Congress leader was arrested Dec 12 by the CBI for crimil conspiracy, cheating and deriving undue fincial benefits in connection with the Saradha Group chit fund scam. (IANS)