Kolkata: A judge hearing the Saradha case in Kolkata was almost gheraoed and heckled in court by a section of lawyers who refused to let him pass an order because a fellow lawyer had died and they had stopped work as a mark of respect.
When the judge refused to budge, the lawyers demanded a hearing which the judge refused as he said he merely wanted to correct an error in an earlier order he had already passed. Angry words were exchanged and work came to halt at the court for almost four hours.
The incident took place on Monday in the Alipore court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) Haradhan Mukhopadhyay. The chaos continued for hours and the ACJM finally passed his order around 10:30 pm.
The ACJM wanted to pass an order incorporating Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code in the cognisance of the Central Bureau of India (CBI) chargesheet of November 17 in the Saradha Realty case. When the ACJM had taken cognisance of the charges on November 18, Section 409 was “accidentally” dropped. A clerical error, some said.
Section 409, which is criminal breach of trust by a public servant and others, gives 90 days time for the filing of chargesheet.
On February 4, Trinamool MP Srinjoy Bose, arrested in the Saradha case on November 21, got bail. Some lawyers say that was because of the absence of Section 409 in the chargesheet in the case.
The other charges require a chargesheet to be filed in 60 days which the CBI had not done.
On February 5, the CBI applied to the court for inclusion of Section 409. The CBI was reportedly concerned that Trinamool minister Madan Mitra, also arrested in the Saradha case on December 12, might also use the 409 loophole to get bail.
Mr Mitra’s bail plea is to be heard tomorrow.
What has added a political twist to the “unprecedented” incident is, Madan Mitra’s sons were seen in the court premises with lawyers who near-gheraoed the ACJM. Also, the lawyer leading the protest is a known Trinamool party worker, Baishanar Chattopadhyay.
“We will go to a higher court against this order”, Mr Chattopadhyay fumed as he left court.
But several other lawyers condemned Monday’s incident in court. “What happened could be construed as contempt of court and the High Court could take suo moto action,” said lawyer Jayanta Narayan Chowdhury, adding, “The Saradha case could even be shifted out of the state.”