No party can abdicate its constitutional responsibility: Citizens' group on Calcutta HC order

By PTI

KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Friday refused a prayer by Manoranjana Sinh seeking quashing of proceedings against her in connection with the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam, being investigated by the CBI.

Sinh moved the high court as the trial in the case before the additional chief judicial magistrate at Alipore court in Kolkata is not proceeding even though the charge sheet was filed more than five years back on January 4, 2016, her lawyer submitted.

“In our opinion the present petition can be disposed of giving liberty to the petitioner to raise all the issues available to her at appropriate stage of the case including framing of charge,” a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Arijit Banerjee said in its judgement.

The bench directed the lower court to expedite trial in the case as the petitioner living in Delhi is facing trial at Kolkata.

The division bench said use of video conferencing facility can be explored by the trial court for recording of evidence, wherever possible.

The bench noted that the petitioner had appeared before the trial court in Kolkata 27 times and her personal appearance was exempted.

The Saradha group allegedly cheated thousands of depositors, promising abnormally high returns on investments in its illegal schemes.

Sinh’s lawyer submitted that she was arrested on October 7, 2015 and was granted bail by the Supreme Court on February 6, 2017.

He claimed that much before the scam was unearthed in 2013, a commercial agreement was signed in 2010, under which Sinh and her company were to promote the business and image of the Group.

Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Y J Dastoor submitted that the only argument advanced on behalf of the petitioner was on the basis of an alleged agreement entered into between her and Bengal Media Ltd, represented by Sudipta Sen, owner of Saradha Group of Companies.

Dastoor submitted that on the basis of the agreement, the petitioner sought to establish that she was unaware that the money, approximately Rs 21.05 crore she received, came from the Saradha Group of Companies.