Saradha scam: Court says time not yet for CBI probe

Kolkata, May 16 : Observing that "time has not come" for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Saradha chit fund scam, the Calcutta High Court Thursday refused to accept a plea in this regard but said it will consider it after fully hearing the matter.

A bench of Justices A.K. Banerjee and M.K. Chowdhury, which Thursday started hearing afresh a set of public interest litigations seeking a CBI probe into the scam, said it will hear the matter June 5, when the court reopens after the summer vacations (beginning Friday).

"As regards the question of CBI probe into the scam, we feel time has not come. We will have to consider the plea only after perusal of the pleadings by the respective parties," the bench observed.

"We have not rejected the petitioner's plea and may accept it at a later stage after hearing all the parties," said the court adding: "We would subserve justice if we dispose off the matter without fully hearing the parties."

Citing unavailability, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, which was hearing the matter earlier, had Wednesday assigned this bench to hear the matter.

Pressing for a CBI probe, the petitioners contended that the Saradha Group chit fund scam was a financial offence of a grave nature which was not confined only to West Bengal, but has affected many across the country.

"The state government is not capable of probing this matter. When the offence has affected almost the entire country, only a central agency like the CBI can investigate the matter," argued Subrata Mukherjee, one of the petitioners.

The government pleader opposed the petitioner's plea saying the government is diligently progressing with the probe and does not need the CBI's support.

Hearing the respective parties, the court fixed June 5 for the next hearing.

With as many as three PILs and a host of parties including the Reserve Bank of India, SEBI, Enforcement Directorate, CBI and the West Bengal government, the court ordered all the parties to complete all legal formalities including documentation and serving copies of the documents to the other stakeholders by May 23.

The court appointed an advocate who has been assigned to complete the paperwork for the court in respect of the pleadings and documentation of all the litigants.

The court during the day also directed the state government to provide all documents pertaining to the scam investigation to the ED, which said it was refused the documents despite a court order to the effect.

--IANS (Posted on 16-05-2013)

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