Court allows CBI plea for adding stringent section in Saradha case
Kolkata, Feb 9 (IANS) A court in West Bengal Monday allowed the CBI plea for adding a stringent section of the law dealing with criminal breach of trust by a public servant or a banker, merchant or agent and carrying a maximum sentence of a life term into a case of the multi-crore Saradha scam.
While the Central Bureau of Investigation in its charge sheet had mentioned section 409 of the Indian Penal Code, the trial court hearing the Saradha Realty case had erroneously not taken cognisance under the section.
There were noisy scenes and pandemonium after Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Alipore) Haradhan Mukherjee admitted there was an “error” on the part of the court and sought to rectify it.
A battery of lawyers defending state Transport Minister Madan Mitra – arrested in the scam- opposed the move citing the court had no power to do so. They were also infuriated over the court hearing the matter despite the Bar Association deciding to cease work for the day following the death of a senior lawyer.
The CBI had made the prayer of congisance under section 409 after then Trinamool Rajya Sabha member Srinjoy Bose Feb 4 got bail after remaining behind bars for 75 days. It contended that if the section is not included in the cognizance order, then Mitra – in custody till date – might be also granted bail like Bose.
Mitra has already applied for bail before a higher court which is expected to come up for hearing Feb 11 when the statutory period of 60 days for the prosecution to file the charge sheet is completed.
The court proceedings remained disrupted for a few hours with the lawyers led by advocate and Trinamool leader Baishanor Chatterjee shouting slogans and accusing the judge of being biased.
“The court has no right to rectify its own order suo motu. The decision of court is reflective that it is biased against our client and trying to curtail his rights,” said Chatterjee.
The judge finally made the order allowing the inclusion of section 409 at 10.45 p.m. working way beyond the usual court hours.
With the offence carrying a punishment of 10 years or life imprisonment, the CBI will now get an additional period of 30 more days to file the charge sheet as the statutory period to file the same is 90 days for offences that are punishable with imprisonment with 10 years or more.