Kolkata: Claiming that West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra, accused in the Saradha chit fund scam, is still functioning as a cabinet minister despite his house confinement, the CBI on Wednesday pleaded before the Calcutta High Court to cancel his bail.
During a hearing of the CBI petition for cancellation of Mitra's bail, CBI lawyer K Raghava Charyulu claimed before a division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapas Mukherjee that the minister's influence was all pervasive and as such he could tamper evidence as the investigators were trying to find the Saradha money trail.
Appealing before the bench to cancel his bail granted by an Alipore court on October 31, the CBI counsel said that Mitra was discharging functions as a cabinet minister even on this date.
The CBI counsel wondered how the Alipore court could give Mitra bail when the High Court had earlier rejected his bail petition.
He further said that as the public prosecutor he had not received any notice from the court regarding bail petition.
Mitra's counsel S K Kapur countered the argument, stating that there was no such practice of giving notice.
On allegations of Mitra influencing the investigation process, he stated that the minister had sent his resignation to the chief minister before his arrest, but it was yet to be accepted.
The CBI counsel argued that when Mitra was admitted at the state-run SSKM Hospital, he was kept in a "presidential suite room" reserved for VVIPS like the President and Governor where he was administered nasal sprays and antacid tablets for his ailments.
During the hearing of the case, the court room was choc-a-bloc with lawyers and curious people. As the hearing was on, a glass pane shattered breaking the silence in the court room. This prompted Justice Mhatre to quip that the minister must pay for it as his supporters had overcrowded the room.
The hearing of the case will continue tomorrow.
Till disposal of the CBI plea for cancellation of his bail, Mitra is under house confinement under police surveillance as per a direction of the Calcutta High Court.