Less than 24 hours after a local court granted him bail in connection with the Saradha scam, Transport Minister Madan Mitra was declared fit by a medical board at the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, where he spent most of his time since his arrest on December 12 last year.
Despite being granted bail on Saturday – after 322 days in custody – Mitra had indicated that he wanted to be in the hospital for a few more days. After his arrest last year, Mitra was remanded to CBI custody, following which, he was sent to judicial remand. For the major part of his judicial remand, he had been at SSKM, citing ill health. He was taken to the VVIP ward of the hospital on February 11.
While the Alipore court granted him bail on Saturday, Mitra’s release orders reached the hospital Sunday morning. Later, amid heavy security, Mitra returned to his residence in an ambulance.
Before entering the house, he said: “Finally, truth prevailed. Doctors have asked me to be very careful at home.”
When contacted, Professor Manju Banerjee — Director of Institute of Post Graduate Medical Research (IPGMER) at SSKM Hospital — refused to comment on the medical condition of Mitra. “The medical board had decided on his discharge. I cannot comment,” she said.
The medical board comprising 10 members, led by Dr M K Das (head of general medicine department), discussed Mitra’s case at an emergency meeting on Sunday morning and concluded that he was medically fit to be discharged.
Mitra was granted bail by ACJM (in-charge) of Alipore District and Sessions Court Partha Das on condition that he would furnish a bond of Rs 2 lakh, cannot leave the state, submit his passport and cooperate with the investigation. CBI Special Crime Branch, which is probing Saradha scheme scam, has said that it will move a higher court against the bail granted to Mitra.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, when asked to react on the development, said: “The court has decided. I cannot make any comment.”
Meanwhile, SSKM declaring Mitra “fit” drew flak from Opposition parties. CPM MP Mohammed Selim claimed it was obvious that Mitra was never unfit. “Mitra’s ailment was made up… it is clear now. It is a pity that an accused minister occupied the bed of a state-run hospital for so many months only to avoid jail. As soon as he gets bail, he is declared fit,” he said.
“The CBI investigation was nothing but a drama just like Mitra’s illness. The state has provided him (Mitra) all kinds of support and thus, turned the Woodburn Ward at SSKM into a five-star hotel… It’s nothing but a farce,” he added.
BJP MLA Samik Bhattacharya said he would like to “congratulate SSKM doctors for their splendid performance”. “They have performed a miracle. My heartfelt good wishes to doctors who managed to cure Mitra overnight, given the fact that they couldn’t make him fit in 300 days,” he said.
BJP state president Rahul Sinha said: “It’s clear Mitra’s illness was a drama scripted by the Trinamool. They have protected him by keeping him at the hospital… That he was ill for a long time, even yesterday evening, and suddenly was given the fitness certificate by the medical board, will raise questions on the role of the doctors.”
Congress leader Abdul Mannan claimed that it was a pre-fixed match between BJP and Trinamool Congress. “People can see everything and they will take the right decision. Doctors should come out with a white paper of Mitra’s treatment so that people know what was ailing him and what medicines had been administered,” he added.
State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “This is the effect of Mamata Banerjee’s black magic… this is part of the tacit understanding between Modi and Mamata. The CBI has loosened its grip to let Mitra get bail. This had been going on for a long time otherwise the central agency would not have only arrested Madan and Kunal (Ghosh) when the entire Trinamool family is involved in the scam.”