Adarsh scam: Centre moves HC for cancellation of interim bail to prime accused

Sofi Ahsan
Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu refused to immediately suspend the interim bail order of Thursday and issued notice to the accused for April 22. (Representational image)

A day after the founder and managing director of Adarsh Credit Cooperative Society, Mukesh Modi and Rahul Modi were granted 15 days' interim bail in view the alleged serious medical condition of Mukesh's mother, the Centre on Friday moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for cancellation of the bail. The Centre has alleged that the duo had lied regarding Mukesh's mother's health condition and they may flee from the country.

However, Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu refused to immediately suspend the interim bail order of Thursday and issued notice to the accused for April 22. Justice Amit Rawal on Thursday had directed the special court in Gurgaon to decide the application for regular bail of the accused on April 20 itself. However, the duo will continue to be treated as under arrest as two police officials will continue to escort them during the period of their interim relief, the order had said.

The father-son duo was arrested by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in December 2018 for allegedly siphoning off over Rs 200 crore of over 20 lakh depositors through an alleged ponzi scheme being run by them. The Ahmedabad-based Society had been operational since 1999. Since the remand order for their arrest was passed by a special magistrate in Gurgaon, the application for regular bail is also pending adjudication before a Gurgaon court.

The interim bail was granted keeping in view the medical condition of Mukesh's mother (Rahul's grandmother), who, the court on Thursday was told, "probably may be in her last stage" and as per the medical record, has been shifted to UN Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre in Ahmedabad from Nursing Home at Sirohi.

However, the court on Thursday also had said that the "petitioners shall be escorted by two police officials and throughout will be treated to be in custody of the police. Their expenses shall be borne by the petitioners and in case of any misuse, liberty is granted to the respondents to move an appropriate application".

On Friday, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office filed application seeking suspension of the interim bail. Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain told the court that assertion regarding the admission of accused's mother or grandmother at the hospital in Ahmedabad is incorrect as at present she is not admitted there. "She was admitted on March 13 and discharged on March 18," said Jain.

Submitting that they were not given a reasonable opportunity to defend the case on Thursday, Jain also told the court that the regular petition of the accused was pending for adjudication before the Gurgaon court on April 20 but despite that they moved the HC on Thursday, even when April 18 was a working day at Gurgaon court.

"In case the petitioners are released on interim bail, it will hamper the investigation. Besides, there are serious apprehensions that they may escape the country and cause immense damage to the investigation," Jain submitted, adding the order passed on Thursday also "does not contain the usual caution that the observations made therein will not influence the Special Judge, Gurugram in deciding the regular bail application…"

Mukesh and Rahul were arrested in December 2018 but were released on interim bail with effect from December 21 till April 1 under the orders of the Delhi High Court passed on December 20. However, the Supreme Court on March 27 set aside the Delhi High Court order on appeal filed by the SFIO and directed them to surrender on April 1 before the Special Court, Gurgaon.

The counsel representing the accused on Friday argued that the application seeking suspension of the interim bail is not maintainable as there is no provision for it and the SFIO can challenge the order before Supreme Court.