State transport and sports minister Madan Mitra, one of the accused in the multi-crore Sarada chit fund scam, was sent back to jail custody for another 14 days on Friday. The court also gave the go-ahead to CBI sleuths to interrogate the minister in jail.
On Friday a PIL was admitted in Calcutta high court with the prayer to remove Mitra from the post of a minister as he is unable to discharge his duties from jail. The metter is likely to come up for hearing next week.
On the other hand in Alipore court CBI counsel Ankush Sarkar told the judge that the sleuths, after interrogating Mitra, have been able to unearth ‘more and more’ documents which could prove that Mitra had not only received undue benefits from Sarada but also participated in the criminal conspiracy.
“All those documents need to be further verified and matched” Sarkar told the court adding that CBI wants to interrogate the accused in jail.
Additional chief judicial magistrate Haradhan Mukherjee was convinced and after asking Mitra whether he was getting proper medical attention inside the jail ordered Mitra to be sent back to jail custody till January 30.
CBI officers were also allowed to interrogate Mitra in jail between January 17 and January 24 in the presence of two of Madan’s lawyers.
Mitra who was arrested on December 12, 2014 had since then been remanded to custody. In the initial days the court had sent him to CBI custody for six days. Thereafter he was sent to judicial custody. Mitra has already spent 36 days in custody.
Mitra told the court that as Sajjan Agarwal, another accused in the scam, was not arrested but named in the charge sheet by CBI, he should also be treated the same way and assured of full cooperation with the investigating agency.
Advocate Ashoke Mukherjee who led the battery of lawyers pleading for Mitra argued that the CBI has not been able to churn out anything further from the minister and that he is simply languishing in jail.
“They (CBI) have not added any new points in the bail prayer for seeking further custody. Their prayer is just a ‘copy paste version’ of the previous day’s prayer,” Mukherjee told the court.
The CBI’s counsel made a faux pas stating that ‘all material against Mitra have been collected’ which led the defense lawyers to question the need of further detaining the minister in jail.
Sarkar, however, soon rectified his stand and claimed that ‘not all’ but many documents have been collected against Mitra.
At the start of the hearing, the judge showed displeasure with a section of the defence lawyers who shouted inside the court seeking Mitra's relief from detention. The court room was packed with supporters of Mitra who shouted "Vande Mataram" slogans during Mitra's entry and exit.