Court expresses concern over Saradha depositors

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court Wednesday expressed concern over the fate of over six lakh depositors of the scam-tainted Saradha Group who have filed complaints with the West Bengal government seeking refunds.

Hearing a public interest litigation seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the multi-crore-rupee Saradha Group scandal, the bench of Justice A.K. Banerjee and Justice M.K. Chaudhuri wondered how the depositors would get back their money.

"There are two aspects - one, there are only criminal cases against the company and two, and the most important, how can the money be returned (to the investors)," said the court.

The court made the observations after the petitioner's counsel Subrata Mukherjee apprised the court about the number of complaints received by the Justice (retired) Shyamal Sen Commission constituted by the government to probe the scandal.

Mukherjee said a large number of police complaints were also filed against the company in a number of states including Jharkhand, Odhisa and Tripura.

Pressing for a CBI probe into the scam, Mukherjee alleged collusion between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Saradha Group.

"Not only Trinamool leaders are involved in the scam, but the state government so far has not filed a single case against the company - guilty of such a huge financial offence," said Mukherjee, adding that a CBI probe should be ordered.

Stating that the governments of Tripura and Assam had asked the CBI to probe the scandal, Mukherjee accused the Mamata Banerjee government of "unreasonably" opposing a probe by the central agency.

To buttress his claims of a "Trinamool complicity in the scam", Mukherjee cited the April 6 letter to the CBI by Saradha boss Sudipta Sen alleging the involvement of several high profile people, including some Trinamool leaders.

"Sen in his letter has named two Trinamool parliamentarians," said Mukherjee, to which Justice Banerjee said: "Well, he has even named the president of India in his letter."

The court also appointed two advocates as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist it during the hearing.

An updated status report regarding the investigation was submitted by the state government to the court.

The matter will next come up for hearing Thursday.

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