Kolkata: With Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Arun Mishra unavailable, a new bench will on Thursday hear afresh a public interest litigation seeking a CBI probe into the multi-crore-rupee Saradha Group scam.

"Chief Justice Mishra will not be available to hear the case in the next hearing (Thursday). He is going out of the city. Since the matter is of grave importance, we urged him to assign a new bench," said Subrata Mukherjee, who filed the PIL."Chief Justice Arun Mishra on Wednesday will assign a new bench which will hear the case afresh," added Mukherjee.

Hearing the petition, the bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice J M Bagchi had on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file an affidavit by Thursday stating whether the central investigating agency had been handed over investigation by other states into the multi-crore-rupee chit fund scam that affected lakhs of investors.

On the day, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) too sought the consent of the court to investigate the Saradha Group issue under the Money Laundering Act as there have been several allegations of misuse of funds collected by it.

Following its request, the court directed the West Bengal government to hand over a copy of first information report to the ED. Saradha Group CEO Sudipta Sen, and two of his close aides are currently behind bars and prosecuted for cheating and conspiracy after the group collapsed unable to repay lakhs of depositors, most of them poor people from villages and small towns, who had parked their hard earned money with its companies, lured by promise of huge returns.

A number of agents and depositors of Saradha and similar chit fund companies have committed suicide while offices of a large number of such dubious concerns operating in the state have been attacked.

(Agencies)

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