State fried on Saradha omission

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  • Published 27.03.14

New Delhi, March 26: The Supreme Court today expressed dissatisfaction with the chargesheets filed in the Saradha default scandal, saying the state had not disclosed the “larger conspiracy”.

The court also sought to insulate the investigations from the general election when the state government’s counsel suggested that the matter be taken up after the polls.

The state government has been given 10 days to file an affidavit on the “larger conspiracy” — which means it has to do so by April 6 or less than a fortnight before the first round of polling in Bengal.

The multiple-phase elections start in Bengal on April 17. Allegations had been levelled against several senior Trinamul leaders in relation to the scandal.

Today, the bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and C. Nagappan told the Bengal government: “It (the chargesheets) does not go to the magnitude of the problem. You are looking at the microscopic level. Even according to you, the amount involved in the scandal is Rs 2,500 crore but you have filed chargesheets saying somebody has been induced to invest Rs 5 lakh.

“It is a conspiracy you should be looking at and the wider ramifications. You cannot be looking at things like somebody being induced to invest Rs 50,000 or 1 lakh.”

At the last hearing, the state had claimed that the amount siphoned off in the case was around Rs 1,700 crore. But today, the state’s counsel estimated the amount to be around Rs 2,500 crore.

The bench made the statements after senior counsel C. Vaidyanathan, appearing for the state, said there was no need for a CBI probe as sought by petitioners who have filed two PILs. He told the court that already 280 charge sheets had been filed and over 200 persons arrested.

Justice Thakur, after briefly going through some of the sample chargesheets, pointed out that nowhere had any mention been made of the larger conspiracy.

The counsel said in one case in Bidhannagar, the conspiracy angle was sought to be incorporated and the chargesheet would be completed in two months.

But the judge said: “Show us anything you have done with regard to the larger conspiracy. Have you said anything about the larger conspiracy, the wider ramifications involved in the case?

“It is a lead case. You have to rope in the main accused. You have to disclose in an affidavit what the larger conspiracy is and what the basis for your statement is.”

The court said that if needed, it would pass orders to ensure that the investigating officers were not posted for election duty. “We don’t want the investigations to be hampered in any manner,” the judge said.

The court said this after Vaidynathan urged the court to take up the matter after the general election as officials are busy with the election work.

The apex court was dealing with two PILs — one filed by two advocates Pratim Kumar Singha Ray and Abu Abbasuddin and the other by another advocate Subrata Chattoraj.