Madan Mitra gets bail in Saradha case, to walk free tomorrow

He has to visit CBI office once a week, deposit his passport and deposit two sureties of Rs 30 lakh.
Hindustan Times | By Bibhas Bhattacharyya
PUBLISHED ON SEP 09, 2016 06:11 PM IST
File photo of Madan Mitra (in yellow kurta) being discharged from SSKM hospital on November 1, 2015 after he was granted bail from Alipore Court 324 days after arrest. (Samir Jana)
File photo of Madan Mitra (in yellow kurta) being discharged from SSKM hospital on November 1, 2015 after he was granted bail from Alipore Court 324 days after arrest. (Samir Jana)

Former transport and sports minister Madan Mitra, who was arrested for his involvement in the Saradha scam was granted bail by Alipore court on Friday after spending 617 days behind the bars.

He was arrested on December 12, 2014.

To enjoy his freedom, Mitra needs to deposit two sureties of Rs 15 lakh each, deposit his passport and present himself at the CBI office once a week.

According to sources, CBI will move high court against the order after it gets a copy of the order.

Read: Kolkata: High Court sends Madan Mitra marching back to prison

“Madan Mitra will cooperate with the CBI in the investigation. However, there has been no progress in the investigation even after keeping him in jail for so many months,” said a lawyer of Mitra.

Mitra is facing charges under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) and sections 4 and 6 of Prize Chits and Money Circulation (Banning) Act, 1978.

During his long incarceration Madan Mitra constantly stood by the party and chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (HT Photo)
During his long incarceration Madan Mitra constantly stood by the party and chief minister Mamata Banerjee. (HT Photo)

The main allegation against him was that he spoke in glowing terms about Saradha and its chairman Sudipta Sen publicly helping the group spread its influence among gullible sections of the people. He was also accused of material benefits from Sen.

The bail was granted after a lengthy argument in the court on Thursday between the counsels of CBI and Mitra on whether he is still an influential person. While Mitra’s advocate argued that Mitra was no longer a minister and not even an MLA, and could not be described as a man of influence any longer, the CBI counsel argued that the former minister was still an influential person despite the defeat in election.

Trinamool Congress leaders did not conceal their delight after the order. “On behalf of the party and our leader Mamata Banerjee who is abroad, we express our joy. We wish him a healthy and long life. He was always with the party and stood by the leader,” said education minister and secretary general of the party, Partha Chatterjee.

Mitra was granted bail by a lower court on October 31, 2015, but his bail was cancelled just a few days later, when Calcutta high court cancelled his bail. Even during his brief respite, Mitra had to spend the days under house arrest.

Read: Saradha scam: CBI arrests TMC minister Madan Mitra, Mamata cries vendetta

During his incarceration, Mitra set a milestone in Bengal politics. He became the first politician to be charged with criminal sections who contested assembly polls. He contested from his constituency Kamarhati and lost to CPI-M’s Manas Mukherjee.

Earlier, he also became the first serving minister in Bengal to be arrested. However, chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not remove him from his position for about a year. He resigned on November 18, 2015 when his bail was cancelled by the high court.

Significantly, Mitra spent a number of months in the jail hospital and a VIP cabin in state-run SSKM hospital’s Woodburn Ward.

His lawyers claimed on Friday that CBI could not produce any evidence that he tried to influence any witness in the Saradha case, as apprehended by the agency’s counsel repeatedly in courts.

The chief minister used to say in her party circles that she did not believe that Madan Mitra could have made money from Saradha.

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