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HC seeks Saradha affidavit

Calcutta, Feb. 13: Calcutta High Court today directed the state government to file an affidavit within two weeks stating what steps the special investigation team had taken since the court asked it on June 19 to continue with the Saradha default probe.

The division bench of Justices Asim Kumar Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee will hear the case again on March 10.

“The state is directed to file an affidavit by two weeks stating the steps it has taken to implement the order passed by the bench on June 19. After the filing of the affidavit by the state, the petitioners will submit a reply in another week,” the bench said.

The June 19 order of the same division bench was passed in response to two separate petitions filed in May last year demanding a CBI probe into the Saradha crisis. But the bench had turned down the plea and said the SIT would “continue its probe under the court’s monitoring”.

Before the court passed today’s order, senior advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, the counsel of one of the two petitioners, had moved an application saying the situation had changed and many developments had taken place in the Saradha case since the June 19 order.

“A suspended MP of Trinamul and one of the respondents to the case, Kunal Ghosh, has been arrested in the meantime for his alleged involvement in the Saradha scam,” Bhattacharyya said.

The advocate said that before Ghosh was arrested, the MP had referred to senior Trinamul leaders, including the chief minister, in connection with the Saradha case.

Bhattacharyya said the government had not followed the court’s order and compensated the duped depositors from its own coffers instead.

“The court, however, had said the depositors’ money would have to be refunded after selling seized Saradha properties,” he said.

Bhattacharyya sought a CBI probe into the scam.

But the division bench said: “We are not passing any order on the application. We want to revisit the position of the investigation.”