With the strongly worded observation that “you are favouring one accused, the name best known to you,” the Supreme Court on Tuesday took the premier investigating agency CBI to task for remaining silent and not challenging the bail granted to Saradha Group chief Sudipto Sen in the multi-crore chitfund scam.
“Have you questioned the bail order? You have been telling the court that a decision will be taken but nothing so far. Why are you so choosy about it ? You are favouring one accused, the name best known to you” a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitabh Roy asked the Prosecutor in the chitfund case.
Sen was granted bail by the Kolkata High Court in September last year after the CBI had failed to file the chargesheet within the stipulated time of 90 days in the case.
What irked the Apex Court was when the Public Prosecutor opposed the bail plea filed by estranged wife of ex-Union Minister Matang Sinh and former journalist, Manoranjana Sinh, a co-accused in the case.
Manoranjana, 50 year, was seeking bail on medical ground. She has been undergoing treatment for various ailments including hypertension and hypotension and after completing the investigation, CBI has filed the fifth suplementary chargsheet against her.
To a court query that when chargesheet was filed against her and the prime accused and othe co-accused are out on bail, why the agency was seeking for her further detention, the Prosecutor argued that she is very influential in Assam and her release would hamper the further investigation.
“This is not fair. When the prime accused and other co-ccused are out in the case, why do you need her confinement? What is your confidential information for which you want her to be in custody ? …,” the bench further said and asked the prosecutor to file the status report by Monday.
Manoranjana’s lawyer senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, Assisted by advocate Amit Kumar, argued that since her arrest in October 2015, she has been suffering from various ailments and the probe agency has admitted her in various hospitals.
The court should grant her the bail on health grounds, he said.
“The Petitioner (Manoranjana) was suffering from multiple ailments and has been operated twice during here incarceration. The medical reports placed before the Hon’ble High Court issued by the hospitals clearly showed that the Petitioner required admission and the Petitioner cannot be held guilty for her admission to the hospital on account of multiple ailments. The Petitioner has been admitted in the hospital pursuant to advice of Medical Officer of Jail..,” the bail plea said.
On October 7, 2015, Manoranjana was arrested along Santanu Ghosh, a Kolkata-based businessman, in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam in October 2015.
It was alleged that she entered into an agreement with Sudipto Sen knowing that the money he proposed to invest was ill gotten. She had obtained the money to launch a Tv news channel in north east region to campaign in favour Sharadha chitfund scheme.
Presently she is in judicial custody has been undergoing treatment in a hospital in Kolkata.
The agency had registered the case on June 4, 2014 in accordance with the Supreme Court order on May 9, 2014 against the then CMD of Saradha Group Shantanu Sen and others under sections pertaining to criminal conspiracy, cheating and other offences.
It was alleged that the accused persons of the Group of Companies collected huge funds from investors under various investment schemes by fraudulently promising them high returns but failed to pay the amount to them and thereby cheated them.
Read the synopsis here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.