The Calcutta High Court on Thursday allowed the CBI's plea for cancellation of bail granted to Saradha chit fund scam accused and senior Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra by a lower court last month.
A division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapas Mukherjee asked Mitra to immediately surrender in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Alipore, on receiving a copy of the order.
"The CBI's plea is allowed," said the court before a packed house, as Mitra's supporters, including his two sons, looked crestfallen.
The development came a day after Mitra quit as West Bengal transport and sports minister, apparently to blunt the Central Bureau of Investigation's argument that his continuation in the cabinet was proof of his immense influence, even though he was indicted and jailed in the multi-crore rupee scam.
The CBI pleaded on Wednesday that Mitra, being an influential person, might hinder investigation and tamper with evidence if not kept in custody.
Mitra was granted bail by a lower court on October 31, after his plea was rejected multiple times by courts, including the Calcutta High Court.
The Trinamool leader got the relief nearly 11 months after his arrest on December 12 last on charges of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust in connection with the state's biggest financial scandal that came to light in April 2013.
The CBI on November 3 moved the high court for bail cancellation, contending that the lower court order suffered from "illegality, perversity and arbitrariness".
On November 5, a vacation division bench of justices Joymalya Bagchi and Mir Dara Sheko ordered Mitra to be kept in house confinement till the disposal of the matter by a regular division bench.
Pressing for the cancellation of the bail, CBI counsel K. Raghavacharyulu said the lower court, while granting bail to the politician, "did not reflect on the changed circumstances" which prompted it to grant the relief when the high court itself had rejected Mitra's bail petition.
Raghavacharyulu alleged that Mitra's son had in February threatened a driver for giving a statement to the CBI. However, Mitra's lawyer S.K. Kapoor vehemently denied the charge.
Opposing the CBI's contention, Kapoor said the prosecution could not provide any evidence of Mitra either interfering in the investigation or tampering with the evidence. He also argued that his client was indicted in only one of the five charge sheets filed by the probe agency so far.
"When they have filed so many charge sheets, what is the need for his further detention," he said, and accused the CBI of indulging in a "pick-and-choose" policy.
Kapoor said the agency did not appeal against the cancellation of the bail given to co-accused Sandhir Agarwal, who was also granted the relief on the same day as Mitra.
The CBI counsel said the process had been initiated to seek cancellation of Agarwal's bail.
As the court accepted the CBI plea, Kapoor requested that Mitra be allowed to remain in house confinement on medical grounds but the court declined.
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