Dejected Saradha boss looks lost in packed courtroom

Kolkata, May 9 (IANS) Only months back, Saradha Group boss Sudipta Sen led a lavish and flamboyant lifestyle, lording over a huge business empire, splurging crores of rupees at his whims and fancies, and surrounded by a bevy of handpicked young women employees. It was a far cry from the dejected and dishevelled man sitting beside petty criminals in the lockup Thursday waiting for a court to decide his fate.

But with his companies gone bust, the man purportedly behind the biggest financial scam to hit West Bengal seemed lost in the court.

Sen and two other company directors Debjani Mukherjee and Arvind Chouhan were brought to the Bidhannagar Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court under heavy security early this morning to avoid possible protests by depositors and agents.

But groups of Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress workers gathered outside the court premises and raised slogans against Sen, while demanding exemplary punishment for him.

The arrested trio is facing prosecution for cheating and other offences with as many as 150 police complaints filed till date and still counting after the chit fund aided Saradha Group collapsed robbing lakhs of depositors of their hard earned money.

They were arrested April 23 from Sonmarg in Kashmir.

Sen – once the suave business tycoon who zoomed out in luxury cars sporting expensive suits – was brought to the court in a white kurta-pyjama set bearing an unshaven and unkempt look.

His close aide, the 27-year-old Debjani – who had risen from a mere receptionist to the coveted rank of a director within a matter of years after she became Sen’s favourite – appeared nondescript in an ordinary salwar kameez inside the court premises. Time and again, she looked in anticipation towards the judge as the battery of lawyers put forth one argument after another pleading for their bail.

During the hearing, both Sen and Debjani would look heavenwards at times, perhaps seeking divine intervention. However, much to their despair, the court after hearing the prosecution and the defence at length, denied bail and extended their custody.

Sen, who earlier had dropped a bombshell when he wrote to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleging he was fleeced and blackmail by various big shots including Trinamool Congress and Congress leaders, soccer officials and businessmen and journalists, said he would come out with more once the investigation was complete.

“I will reveal everything once the investigation is complete,” Sen told reporters while coming out of the court, when asked about involvement of political leaders in the scam.

But for now, more sessions of gruelling police grilling awaits the man who had once proudly told his cronies: “Whatever I see around me, I feel like buying.”

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