On a day the CBI cited his continuance in the state cabinet as a proof of his immense influence, West Bengal’s transport minister and Saradha scam accused Madan Mitra stepped down from the post on Wednesday.
According to sources, Mitra’s resignation was accepted by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who forwarded it to Governor K.N. Tripathi.
The move came hours after the CBI, seeking cancelation of his bail, pointed to a division bench of the Calcutta High Court about Mitra continuing as a state minister despite being indicted and jailed in the multi-crore-rupee scam.
Mitra was granted bail by a lower court on October 31 nearly 11 months after his arrest on December 12 last year.
The CBI subsequently moved the high court’s division bench of Justice Nishita Mhatre and Justice Tapas Mukherjee seeking cancelation of the bail.
Following the CBI’s move against the bail, the high court subsequently ordered Mitra be kept under house confinement till the disposal of the matter.
To buttress its claims of Mitra being an influential person who might hinder investigation and tamper with evidence if not kept in custody, the CBI counsel on Wednesday argued before the court how Mitra has remained in the cabinet despite being in custody for almost a year.
The counsel also drew the court’s attention towards Mitra’s stay at the government-run SSKM Hospital where he has spent a large part of his incarceration period.
Contending that the bail granted by the lower court was illegally passed, the counsel pleaded to the bench to cancel his bail.
Refuting charges that Mitra may tamper with the evidence, his counsel asserted that the minister had tendered his resignation even before his arrest but was not accepted.
The case will again come up for hearing on Thursday.
The opposition called Mitra’s resignation a “desperate attempt” to prevent cancellation of his bail by the court.