New Delhi: The CBI plans to name several “high and mighty” accused in the Saradha chargesheet, expected to be filed in a fortnight, and let the court decide whether they should be arrested.
It’s a technique the agency had adopted in the 2G case too, when it had avoided controversy by largely desisting from VIP arrests before filing the chargesheet, upon which the court sent all the accused bigwigs to jail.
“We want to play safe this time too, considering the involvement of some high and mighty people,” a senior CBI official said, requesting anonymity.
Agency director Ranjit Sinha told The Telegraph: “The first Saradha chargesheet will be filed in a Calcutta court soon, probably in a fortnight. Let the Puja holidays get over.”
Sinha declined to comment on the other officer’s reference to “high and mighty people”.
A senior officer from Calcutta reached New Delhi today, apparently to brief the director on the progress of the investigations.
CBI sources said the chargesheet would also name those already in judicial custody, such as Saradha boss Sudipta Sen, suspended Trinamul MP Kunal Ghosh, retired armed police director-general and Trinamul vice-president Rajat Majumdar, East Bengal official Debabrata Sarkar, businessman Sandhir Agarwal and former Saradha Realty director Debjani Mukherjee.
A CBI official said that before the chargesheet is filed in a CBI court, a status report would be submitted to the Supreme Court which had ordered the agency probe informing it about the investigation and the involvement of influential people.
He explained that the decision had been taken because of the “hostile” attitude of Trinamul supporters who had hit the streets protesting against the agency’s investigations and questioning its motives.
“We are giving the final touches to the status report, which is similar to the chargesheet and will have the names of all the accused, including the influential people whose custodial interrogation is required,” the official said.
Another agency official said that after the first chargesheet, supplementary chargesheets were likely to be filed against more accused as had been done in the 2G case.
He said that during the spectrum probe, the lone VIP to be arrested initially was former telecom minister A. Raja. The agency had refrained from arresting DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi and senior telecom executives despite finding enough evidence to chargesheet them, he said.
“The court sent them to Tihar jail,” the official said. “It’s not important to arrest an accused before filing the chargesheet. Our job is to establish criminal conspiracy and wait for the court’s directions.”
The Saradha accused will be charged under various Indian Penal Code sections, including those relating to criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating and misappropriation of funds.
Usually, the CBI files the chargesheet within 90 days of filing a case but four months have passed since the Supreme Court handed the Saradha probe to the agency. “This is a very big scam with wider implications; so we needed more time,” Sinha said.
The Telegraph, Calcutta