As many as 324 days after he was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his involvement in the Saradha scam, West Bengal transport and sports minister Madangopal Mitra was granted bail by Alipore court.
The bail was granted on condition that he has to pay a bond of `2 lakh, cannot leave the state, deposit his passport and cooperate with the investigation.
CBI’s investigating officer dealing with the case said that the agency would move a higher court next week seeking cancellation of Mitra’s bail.
Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee said that Mitra’s bail not only vindicated the party’s stand that none of its members were involved in the scam, but it brought a sense of relief as well.
Mitra was the only serving minister in Bengal to be ever arrested in any case. The bail will give chief minister Mamata Banerjee a big political relief before the 2016 Assembly elections.
After granting bail, judge Parthapratim Das observed that the investigation will not suffer if Mitra remained out of jail as an economic offence, such as this, rested mainly on documentary evidence.
Significantly, for an overwhelming part of the 324 days of arrest, he spent most of the days in the luxurious confines of Woodburn ward of SSKM Hospital.
The bail came in rather unusual circumstances on Saturday with the CBI counsel staying away from the hearing. The CBI counsel told the court that investigating officer was not present in the city and the case diary was also not in the possession of the agency’s counsel as the IO had locked it up before leaving city.
(with agency inputs)