statesman news service
KOLKATA, 19 JUNE: While the prayer for a CBI probe into the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam was stated to be not required at the present stage by the Division Bench of Mr Justice Asim Banerjee and Mr Justice Mrinalkanti Choudhuri of this court today, the court would be monitoring the probe of the scam by investigating agencies of the state government. The matter was kept pending before the court which in a 76-page judgment gave a clutch of directions on the method of investigation which is now being conducted by the state police.
These include a direction that the state government investigation agencies would submit monthly report of progress of the of the probe to the Registrar General of the court on the last day of the English calendar month form June 30 until proceedings are brought to their logical conclusion.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) was directed to extend all support that would be asked by any of the central agencies for carrying out the investigation. The state government was directed to issue appropriate directions at the appropriate level to set up a special court to administer all cases relating to the Saradha chit fund scam.
The commission headed by Mr Justice (retired) Shyamal Sen set up by the state government regarding the Saradha scam case was directed to be "clothed with more powers" to dispose of all assets of this group. The commission would be "clothed with more powers" to appropriate the mode of recovery of debts, it was further directed.
All bank accounts of the Saradha group were directed to be attached. The commission was directed to be given the liberty to open account in any nationalised bank which would be operated by persons appointed by the chairman. The commission was directed to prepare a list of depositors. It was further directed to "prorate" the distribution of the amount recovered among the distributors in a manner it would feel prudent.
Let there be no media trial before the actual trial takes place, the court observed. The matter would come up for hearing a week after the court reopens after the puja vacation.
While moving a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), Mr Subrata Mukhopadhaya had sought a CBI probe appearing for one of the petitioners, Mr Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya had prayed for a probe by a combination of investigation agencies and drew the court’s attention to the magnitude and ramification of the scam called for investigation to find out those who were behind the scam apart from the Saradha group chief Sudipta Sen, who is in custody along with others. Contending that the financial scam was spread over several states and also abroad, he had submitted that an investigation by CBI or any other central investigating agency was called for.
Mr Lashmi Kumar Gupta, an advocate of this court who had been appointed an amicus curiae had submitted that there was no need for a CBI probe at this stage and that the state investigation agency be allowed to continue its investigations.
The petitions might not be disposed of so that if anyone was aggrieved at any stage, could come before the court, he further submitted
The terms of reference of Mr Justice (retired) Shyamal Sen Commission set up by the state government be increased to facilitate refund of money to investors of the Saradha Group, the amicus curiae suggested. Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen was arrested from Sonmarg in Kashmir on 23 April along with two close associates.
In an affidavit before the court, Sen had opposed a CBI probe claiming that the state agencies were doing a good job. He also prayed that all the cases filed against him in different places be clubbed and heard before a single court.