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Flutter in court over Saradha case plea

- Citing lack of faith, petitioner seeks transfer; HC to hear govt on January 30

Calcutta, Jan. 28: Sparks flew in court No. 12 of Calcutta High Court today as the lawyer representing a petitioner seeking a CBI probe into the Saradha default case urged the bench to release the matter citing his client’s lack of faith.

After over 15 minutes of arguments and counter-arguments, the division bench of Justices Asim Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee decided to hear on January 30 whether it should release the case, overturning an earlier decision to release the matter.

“Had the court released the matter, the June 19 order of the bench, in which it had turned down a CBI probe into the matter and allowed the special investigation team to continue its probe, would have become null and void,” a senior advocate representing the government said.

As the court had on June 19 empowered the Shyamal Sen commission to seize and sell properties of the Saradha Group to refund money to the duped depositors, the ambit of the panel’s operations would have become uncertain had the matter been released.

“That’s why we drew the court’s attention saying it could not release the matter only because of a lawyer’s stray remark,” a government empanelled lawyer said.

The government has all along opposed the need for a CBI probe into the default crisis although the Opposition has asked for the intervention of the central agency alleging involvement of some members of the ruling establishment with the sham company.

The need for a CBI probe came under the court’s scanner when two petitioners moved the high court in May 2013 with their plea.

Although the court did not hand over the probe to the CBI on June 19, it said it would monitor the case and call the central agency, if needed.

A fresh plea for a CBI probe was moved after Trinamul MP Kunal Ghosh was arrested for his connections with Saradha. Besides, the central Enforcement Directorate, one of the respondents in the case, also moved court seeking clarification on the June 19 order.

Today, Subrata Mukhopadhyay, the counsel appearing for one of the two petitioners seeking a CBI probe, told the division bench: “I apprehend that my client would not get justice from this bench. The court should release the matter.”

Justice Asim Banerjee asked Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, the counsel for the other petitioner, whether he would support Mukhopadhyay’s contention.

“Petitions filed by you and Mukhopadhyay were same in nature. Are you supporting Mukhopadhyay in the issue?” the senior judge of the division bench asked.

Bhattacharyya said he wanted the matter to be disposed of as quickly as possible.

The government counsels tried to draw the court’s attention to how the earlier orders would become invalid if the case was released. But the judges were determined to release the case and the court officer was called to take down the order.

The government lawyers finally managed to convince the bench.

“The state lawyers’ arguments will be heard on Thursday,” Justice Banerjee said.