Saradha scam: Sudipta Sen, aides denied bail (Roundup)

Kolkata, May 9 (IANS) Rejecting the bail pleas of Saradha Group promoter Sudipta Sen and two of his close aides including Debjani Mukherjee, a West Bengal court Thursday remanded the trio to nine days in police custody. In another case, the court ordered 14 days’ judicial remand for them.

The court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (Bidhannagar) A.H.M. Rahman passed the order in two different cases, the first of which was filed on an FIR by Arpita Ghosh, on the basis of which the three were arrested April 23 and subsequently remanded to 14 days’ police custody.

The second case was started on the basis of an FIR by Kannoj Mandal, an investor. In both the FIRs, the deposit seeking company of the Saradha Group has been accused of cheating and other offences.

While in the first case, the trio has been remanded to 14 days judicial custody, the court ordered nine days police custody in the second.

The trio of Sen, Debjani and Arvind Chauhan, arrested from Sonmarg in Jammu and Kashmir and subsequently remanded to police custody, were brought to the court early this morning to avoid possible protests by depositors and agents. There was heavy police deployment outside the court due to a protest by Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress workers.

Praying for bail, the defence counsel argued that the accused have cooperated with police during interrogation and they have no intention either to abscond or to deny the investors refund of their money.

With the entire Group’s bank account frozen, Sen’s counsel urged the court to allow reopening at least one such account to allow the debtors of the company to deposit the money owed by them.

The counsel said Sen has no bank accounts in his own name and all the accounts that he operated were in the name of various companies of the Group.

He also said that police have merely seized two percent of Sen’s assets and he be allowed to operate his business.

“Unless my client (Sen) is allowed to operate his business, how will he tell the investigators about the rest of his properties for which police have been grilling him,” said the counsel.

Meanwhile, counsel for Mukherjee argued that none of the FIRs filed in the cases have mentioned her name.

“Not only the FIRs do not mention Debjani’s names, but the facts of cases do not merit a case of cheating. The investors who are seeking refund of their money should approach the consumer forum,” argued her counsel.

With over 150 FIRs filed across West Bengal against the company, the counsel also prayed the court for their amalgamation.

“With so many FIRs, the ambit of investigation has been ever increasing resulting in the investigators digressing from the main line of probe. Moreover, with so many FIRs and separate court case for each, the time spent in the legal battle will be immeasurable,” said the counsel.

Opposing the bail plea, the public prosecutor said their custody was essential for the purpose of investigation.

“There are lot of things that still need to be investigated and if the accused are granted bai,l it would be a great injustice to the lakhs of investors who were duped of their hard earned money,” he said.

Sen later said he would reveal everything once the probe was over.

“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.

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