In a setback to the Mamata Banerjee government, the Supreme Court has refused to monitor the ongoing CBI probe into the multi-crore Saradha chit-fund scam or to restrain the media from reporting the scandal.
The bench, headed by justice TS Thakur, also rejected the state government and Trinamool Congress’ allegation that the CBI was selectively leaking information to the media about the probe. “If the CBI is not doing the job, tell us...If there is some political fallout, we don’t want to say anything,” justice Thakur remarked.
The court declined to initiate contempt against Banerjee and the state law minister for allegedly obstructing the CBI investigation, adding it was for the probe agency to seek action against the leaders.
Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state, complained: “… every little thing is leaked out during questioning by the CBI. This is not fair, we want to say please uphold the rule of law and protect an individual’s right under Article 21 (Right to Liberty)”. “You want CBI not to disclose anything. The press is doing their job,” the bench said.
Solicitor General Ranjjit Kumar complained TMC workers threatened CBI officials who went to the court to file documents related to the case. The court gave liberty to the CBI to move an application seeking amendment of its last year’s order by which the agency was directed to investigate all the 317 cases related to Saradha and 491 non-Saradha chit fund cases. The SG said CBI had identified those cases with larger conspiracy and the trail led abroad. He argued the CBI did not have enough manpower and infrastructure to inquire into all the 700-odd cases.