The Calcutta High Court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, arrested by the CBI in the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam.Appearing for the Trinamool Congress leader, senior advocate Kapil Sibal pressed for bail, telling the division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Asha Arora that section 409 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with criminal breach of trust by public servant, was not applicable against Mitra as he was not connected with the Saradha Group.Asserting that Mitra will neither abscond nor exert any kind of influence on the witnesses, Sibal contended that he was ready to step down as a minister if the court granted him bail.Vehemently opposing the plea, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel K. Raghavacharyulu said if Mitra was granted bail, he would influence witnesses and hamper investigation.
He contended that it was a result of Mitra's influence that he continues to be a minister and has been spending most part of his custody in the comforts of a VIP cabin at the government-run SSKM Hospital than being in jail.After hearing both the parties, the court rejected Mitra's bail plea.Charge sheeted for various offences, including criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal breach of trust in the multi-crore scam, Mitra has been behind bars since his arrest on December 12 last year.
Besides the high court, Mitra's bail pleas have been repeatedly rejected by lower courts.
Meanwhile, the Congress' West Bengal unit, which has been constantly attacking the ruling Trinamool over the Saradha scam, has expressed its displeasure over senior party leader Sibal representing Mitra."It is unfortunate that being a senior leader, Sibal is representing a leader of a party which is neck deep in the scam. It is evident that profession is more dear to Sibal than the party," said state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.The Bengal Congress had earlier also criticized Sibal for representing Trinamool in a Saradha hearing before the Supreme Court