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Saradha assurance

Calcutta, April 23: The Bengal government has decided to write to the advocate-general asking him if the Justice Shyamal Sen commission had the right to interrogate Saradha chief Sudipta Sen, sources in the home department said today.

The decision to seek legal opinion, almost a year after Sen’s arrest, was taken after the Enforcement Directorate questioned the commission’s authority on being asked by the government to produce a court order to interrogate the Saradha chief.

A home department official said this evening: “The commission was set up on the basis of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. We are sure the advocate-general will opine that the commission was well within its rights to summon Sudipta Sen.”

The official added that if advocate-general Bimal Chatterjee gave his opinion in favour of the state government, “no one can raise questions”.

The ED, a central agency under the Union finance ministry, had recently sought the state’s clearance to interrogate Sudipta Sen, who is lodged in Alipore jail.

But the Bengal government turned down the plea and told the agency to come with a court order, citing Section 267 of the CrPC that deals with “power to require attendance of prisoners”.

A home department official today said the state would allow the ED to interrogate Sudipta Sen either in jail or at the agency’s Salt Lake office provided it produced a court order.

The denial prompted a section of ED officials to question the authority of the commission, which, sources said, has been interrogating Sen for almost a year now.

“If the commission can interrogate Sudipta Sen without any court order, why can’t the ED?” a government official asked today.

Advocate-general Chatterjee could not be contacted.