The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to order a CBI probe into the chit fund scam involving the Saradha Group.
Justices Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri, however, allowed Sudipta Sen’s plea made through his advocates Naresh Balodia and Deo Kant Sharma for investigation of all the complaints against Saradha Group by one agency, trial by a special court and sale of its assets for repayment of dues to depositors and employees.
The judges directed the state special investigation team (SIT) to probe all the complaints not only against Saradha group but also against all other chit fund companies and submit monthly status report to high court registrar. But the SIT would extend all support to central agency, like Enforcement Directorate, for carrying out investigation at their level, the judges said.
For trial of all cases against Saradha group, the judges directed the state to set up a special court in Salt Lake area in consultation with the high court administration. The judges also directed the state to empower Justice Shyamal Sen commission to sell all the lands, buildings, companies, media houses and other assets of Saradha Group, its agents or benamdars purchased from the money of its depositors. “The consent of the accused would not be required as the key person (Sen) already in his affidavit prayed for disposal of the assets,” the judges said in their 69-pages judgment passed on a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions filed by CPI(M) lawyers, seeking CBI probe into chit fund scam.
The judges directed the Justice Sen Commission to prepare a list of depositors upon verification of the respective claims and repay their dues. “All bank accounts of Saradha Groups, its sister concerns, personal accounts of its Directors would stand attached and the respective banks would not allow anyone to operate them without the permission of the Commission except for depositing money in the said account,” the judges said.
Rejecting the plea for CBI probe, judges said: “The CBI clearly mentioned they did not have any appropriate infrastructure. They may do it only with the State helping them. If we withdraw the process from the State machinery and ask the CBI to take it over and ask the State machinery to assist them, the result would not be as expected.”