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Featured Image: A file photo of Madan Mitra. 

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 31 October: WEST Bengal transport minister Madan Mitra has been granted bail about a year after his arrest by the CBI in connection with the multi-crore Saradha Chit Fund Scam.

A designated court at Alipore in Kolkata has granted bail to Mitra this afternoon on a bail-bond of Rs 2 lakh. Of this, Rs 1 lakh as local surety (meaning someone else has to act as a guarantor) and the remaining Rs 1 lakh have to be deposited to the court in cash.

Along with the minister, the court has also granted bail to city businessman Sandhir Agarwal, who too is under arrest in the Saradha Scam for over 13 months now. He has been asked to file a bail bond of Rs 3 lakh.

Sixty-year old Bengal transport minister Mitra was arrested by the CBI on 12 December 2014 on the charge that he had promoted the scam-hit Saradha Group in multiple forums and had also got financial benefits from the company.

Mitra is under arrest for 324 days now but is admitted to the SSKM Hospital for the past few months due alleged ill health. He is likely to be released later this evening or early tomorrow. But it is not yet clear, whether he will get discharged from the hospital immediately.

“The minister’s release will now only take that much time that is required in getting and communicating the certified copy of the order to the jail authorities and in filing the bail bond to the court,” said advocate Ashoke Mukhopadhaya, who pleaded for Mitra in the court today.

In granting the bail, judge Partha Pratim Das has said that Mitra cannot go out of Kolkata without the court’s prior approval and has directed him to submit his passport to the police. He shall have to report to the CBI whenever the Central investigation agency calls him for questioning.

While appearing in the first half of the hearing, CBI’s special counsel K Raghavacharyulu urged the court to adjourn the hearing to a new date saying that the CBI investigating officer (IO) for the case is out of Bengal and the case diary is under lock and key. But rejecting the plea, the judge gave CBI time till 3 pm to produce the case diary.

When the hearing resumed again, two other counsels of the CBI filed an appeal for adjournment on behalf of Raghavacharyulu. In the application, Raghavacharyulu mentioned that the judge seems to be “in undue haste” and “predetermined” to grant bail to minister Mitra.

On going through the accusations, judge PP Das became furious and said that he would it amounts to insulting the judiciary. He would report the matter to the Supreme Court, the judge said.

The judge went ahead with the hearing even as the CBI’s special advocate Raghavacharyulu skipped the proceedings. The judge then granted bail to Mitra and Agarwal around 4.30 pm.