NEW DELHI, January 19: The Supreme Court said on Monday it will hear petitions by the West Bengal government and the Trimool Congress urging it to monitor the CBI probe into the multi–crore rupee Saradha scam and alleged leakage of information.
A bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said it would hear the matter on Thursday as senior counsel Kapil Sibal told it that information from the CBI reached the West Bengal government and the accused much later than other people.
Probing the scam that came to light in April 2014, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate have questioned many Trimool MPs.
Sibal noted that the court that while handing over the probe to the CBI, had said that it would not monitor this but could do so if the need arose.
The apex court by its May 9, 2014 verdict had said: “We do not for the present consider it necessary to constitute a monitoring team to monitor the progress of the investigation into the scam. But, we leave the exercise of that option open for the future.”
As Sibal sought an early hearing on Thursday, the court asked him the reason for the urgency. Sibal then said: “Information is reaching other parties much earlier than the West Bengal government as there was a leakage.”
Seeking the apex court monitoring of the CBI probe into Saradha scam, Trimool general secretary Mohua Moitra in her application said: “CBI is now merely acting as a tool in the hands of the ruling party at the centre and seems to be conducting the investigations to strategically target the prominent leaders of the party (Trimool) so as to destabilise the state government and leave the party bereft of leaders at the helm in line with agenda of the ruling party at the centre.”
Referring to the startling coincidences of statements of Bharatiya Jata Party leaders being matched by the CBI actions, Moitra said: “It is pertinent to point out how the CBI is towing the line of its political masters and the mandate of the Supreme Court is being flouted and misused which was always the fear and apprehension.”
The application said that in the Saradha case, the CBI is “clearly toeing the line of the central government and more particularly the Bhartiya Jata Party, its tiol president Amit Shah, its general secretary Siddharth th Singh and its Bengal president Rahul Sinha”.
Referring to various utterances of the BJP leader including Shah and Singh and their slogans targeting Trimool leaders, Moitra’s application said that this “assumes all the more importance for the reasons that the elections for 91 municipalities including Kolkata Municipal Corporation are to be held in the next three to four months”.
“The common endeavour of the ruling party at the centre as well as CBI appears to be to tarnish the image of the ruling party at the state by strategically leaking information with regards to investigation to the media so as to gain political mileage,” it said.
She contended the acts of the investigating agency in regularly dissemiting information to the media in a “politically motivated manner”, resulting in a “trial by media” is “prejudicial to justice and warrants censure and appropriate directions” from the apex court.
Meanwhile the West Bengal government sought to “restrain the media from regularly reporting leaks from the CBI and unfounded allegations and or information except those disclosed in the official briefings and releases of the investigating agency”.
Seeking direction to CBI to henceforth conduct the trial expeditiously in the cases already pending trial, it further sought direction to the probe agency to “take over immediately all cases registered in the entire state of West Bengal being both Saradha and non–Saradha cases and dispose them of expeditiously within a reasoble time frame”. IANS