Accepting the CBI's plea, the Calcutta High Court on Friday transferred hearing of the bail petition of Saradha scam accused West Bengal Transport Minister Madan Mitra to the city session court.
Expressing apprehension that "it would not get justice" from the court of district and sessions judge (Alipore) before which Mitra's bail plea was filed, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had approached the bench of Justice R.K. Bag seeking the matter be transferred to another court.
"Justice Bag today accepted our plea and transferred the case to city sessions court under the provisions of section 407 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The court has directed the procedure of transfer be completed within 72 hours," said a CBI counsel.
Under the section, the high court has the power to transfer a case to another court whenever it is made to appear to it that a fair and impartial inquiry or trial cannot be had in any criminal court subordinate thereto.
During the hearing, the CBI counsel contended that the Alipore sessions judge "formed an idea even before hearing" has began in Mitra's bail petition.
"Besides advancing the date for Mitra's bail plea from May 13 to May 11 without proper notice, the court was also lenient in granting bail to East Bengal (football club) official Debabrata Sarkar," said the counsel.
While Mitra's advocates vehemently denied the charges calling them "baseless", the judge after the hearing ordered the bail plea be now heard by the city sessions court.
Arrested on December 12 on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and deriving undue financial benefits in connection with the multi-crore rupee Saradha Group chit fund scam, Mitra is now under judicial custody.
The Alipore court had earlier granted bail to former Trinamool Congress MP Srinjoy Bose and East Bengal club officialSarkar, both of whom were arrested by the CBI for their alleged complicity in the scam.