Former West Bengal Transport Minister, Madan Mitra of the Trinamool Congress is likely to contest the Assembly elections in the state from inside the jail.
TMC MP Sougato Roy told The Sunday Guardian, “There is no problem in fighting an election from the prison. He (Madan Mitra) is just an accused. He is not a convict. It is certain that he will get a ticket to contest the election. He has a very strong support base in his constituency.” Mitra is MLA from Kamarhati in North 24 Parganas. Other TMC leaders backed Roy’s statement. A senior leader said on the condition of anonymity, “The party has not yet given an official response, but it is highly likely that it will consider Madan Mitra as a candidate in this election.” The opposition parties have been quick to criticise the TMC on this issue. Fuad Halim, a senior CPIM leader, said, “This shows the true nature of the TMC. It can even support corrupt people. The TMC is giving him a ticket to silence him. The TMC is afraid that Mitra may reveal the names of other party leaders who are possibly involved in the multi crore Saradha scam. This ticket is a token of appreciation for him to keep shut before the CBI.”
The West Bengal unit of the BJP too has criticised the move. “There is a legal and ethical part to this development. Legally, there is no problem, but ethically it is wrong. The Saradha scam involved the money of the poor people; it is a corruption against the poor people. This exposes Mamata Banerjee’s agenda. She is shielding the corrupt. The people of Kamarhati should now decide the fate of Madan Mitra,” said Krishanu Mitra, spokesperson, BJP, West Bengal.
Madan Mitra, accused in the Saradha scam was arrested by the CBI in December 2014 and has been in custody ever since. The Alipore court in Kolkata, however, granted him bail in October 2015. His bail was soon challenged by the CBI in the Calcutta High Court, which cancelled it in November 2015.