The Calcutta High Court on Monday asked senior advocate Lakshmi Gupta, appointed as an amicus-curiae (friend of court), to assist on three issues for deciding a batch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed by three lawyers, seeking CBI investigation into the chit fund scam.
Justices Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Mrinal Kanti Chaudhuri asked Gupta to examine the magnitude of the scam, whether the probe should be handed over to the CBI at this stage and a special committee be set up for inquiry and refund of the depositors’ money and assist the court on June 11.
The state government pleader, Ashok Banerjee, however, vehemently opposed the PILs and sought their dismissal with exemplary fine. Banerjee said, “The PILs have been filed by the CPI(M) party lawyers to gain political mileage and to malign the Mamata Banerjee government by making baseless allegations.”
Terming the PILs as frivolous, Banerjee said: “The alleged scam was discovered on April 16, but the PILs were filed within a week without doing any research. Moreover, there was no mention in any of the PILs as to which complaint or FIR they want to be transferred to CBI. Therefore, the PILs should be dismissed with huge fine to prevent filing of such frivolous cases in future.”
The judges also prima facie agreed that nowadays it has become the practice of a section of lawyers to file PIL to gain media publicity. Banerjee, however, filed a status report on the investigation by the Bidhannagar police for verification by the court.
“Till now, 342 complaints have been received by the Bengal Police and seven complaints have been received by the Kolkata Police against the Saradha group. The state police have started cases and arrested Sudipta Sen and his associates, and in some cases, the charge sheet has been filed. The police have also traced out 208 properties of Saradha Group. Therefore, it could not be said that the state police was incompetent to probe this matter fairly,” Banerjee said.