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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Rs. 800 crore bank loan fraud: SC extends protection from arrest to Ambience group promoter who claims to have ‘health issues’

The Supreme Court on Thursday extended, by four weeks, protection from arrest granted to Ambience group promoter Raj Singh Gehlot in a money laundering case, related to an alleged Rs 800 crore bank loan fraud.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the Enforcement Directorate, contended before a bench of Justices B.R. Gavai, Vikram Nath, and Sanjay Karol that all these economic offenders, after filing of cases, are always hospitalised, otherwise they are hale and hearty. Vehemently opposed any relief for Gehlot, he argued that bail allegedly on medical grounds should not be granted to a person, who siphoned off hundreds of crores.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Gehlot, submitted that in November last year, the apex court had ordered his re-examination by a medical board to be constituted by the director of the AIIMS, Delhi and this order on medical examination cannot be rendered nugatory.

“Since the petitioner has already been examined by a team of experts from AIIMS, New Delhi, on the directions of this court, we direct the registry of this court to forward the copy of the said report to the trial judge. In addition, copies be also supplied to the Additional Solicitor General of India appearing in this matter as well as the learned counsel for the petitioner,” noted the top court.

After hearing arguments, the top court extended the protection from arrest to Gehlot by four weeks and also directed the trial court to decide the bail application, if filed, during this period. “In order to enable the petitioner to apply for regular bail, the interim protection granted in favour of the petitioner shall continue to operate for a period of four weeks from today….. If an application is filed by the petitioner within a period of three days from today, the same shall be decided within a period of four weeks from today,” said the bench, in its order.

The court has been extending the protection from arrest from time to time for Gehlot and he has challenged various orders passed by the Delhi High Court and the trial court, refusing to grant him relief.

The ED’s case against Gehlot is based on a 2019 FIR of the anti-corruption bureau of Jammu against Aman Hospitality Private Ltd (AHPL) and its directors for alleged money laundering in the construction of the five-star Leela Ambience Convention Hotel located near Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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