It was another day of high drama at Alipore court on Friday. Transport minister Madan Mitra, who was in judicial custody in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam, was produced in court and the CBI counsel asserted that the minister not only took money from the Saradha group but had also conspired with group chairman Sudipta Sen to dupe investors.
At the end of a two-hour hearing, the judge sent Mitra to another 14 days’ judicial custody. He will now be produced in the court again on January 16.
“Huge amounts of funds were transferred to Mitra’s accounts by the Saradha group. The CBI has collected several documents against him that need to be verified. The case is at a crucial stage. Mitra took active part in the criminal conspiracy and even allured people to invest in Saradha’s chit fund,” CBI counsel Partha Sarathi Dutta told the court during the day.
Countering his claims, Mitra told the judge that if the charges against him were proved he would embrace the gallows. “If anyone can prove that I have taken a single penny, I am ready to face even the death sentence,” the minister said with folded hands as he stood before the acting additional chief judicial magistrate.
The prosecution, however, remained unsparing. Dutta further told the court that Mitra was enjoying additional facilities in judicial custody. “The jail superintendent was going beyond the jail code to provide these facilities to Mitra. The court should pass an order restricting the jail authorities from providing any such extra facility to him,” Dutta said.
The media has been reporting on how Mitra is enjoying special facilities inside the jail with a renovated jail ward, homemade food (chicken and paratha on New Year-eve) and six inmates running errands for him in the ward that has virtually been taken over by him.
Mitra had allegedly used mobile phones of jail officials to contact his party colleagues and members of his family from inside the jail. A battery of lawyers fighting for the minister told the court that Mitra was ready to submit his passport, driving licence and even the legal deeds of his house to the court. But none of their pleas could get a bail for Mitra.