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Allahabad High Court denies anticipatory bail to fraud accused

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The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of a man accused of duping a bank and diverting the funds.

A single-judge bench of Justice Brij Raj Singh passed this order while hearing a Criminal Misc Anticipatory Bail Application filed by Sujay Uday Desai.

The anticipatory bail application has been filed on behalf of the applicant in criminal case pending in the Court of Special Judicial Magistrate CBI, Lucknow arising out of FIR under Sections 120-B, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC registered at Police Station CBISCB Lucknow, District Lucknow with a prayer to enlarge him on anticipatory bail.

The FIR was lodged on 11.06.2020 bearing FIR registered by complainant, Niranjan Panda, Chief Regional Manager, Regional Office, Indian Overseas Bank, Lucknow, under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC at Central Bureau of Investigation, Special Crime Branch, Lucknow.

The counsel for the applicant submitted that though the chargesheet has been filed in the case but the anticipatory bail application filed by the applicant is maintainable in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Bharat Chaudhary and another Vs State of Bihar and another, (2003) 8 SCC 77.

It has been further submitted that the applicant is innocent and has not committed the offence and he is not named in the FIR. It has been next submitted by the counsel for the applicant that the applicant was not arrested during investigation, therefore, after filing of the charge sheet, the applicant should not be remanded to judicial custody and there is no purpose to remand him because he had cooperated in the investigation.

It has been further submitted on behalf of the applicant that the goods were transferred between foreign seller Globiz and foreign buyer in that sequence of the transaction of the business. The transfer of title in goods was done by way of endorsement in the bill of lading which is the prevailing practice. On the import of the transactions, the bill of lading was provided to Globiz by the foreign supplier.

The counsel for the applicant also submitted that in the same subject matter in respect of flagship company of the Frost Group i.e Frost International Limited (FIL), SFIO and ED had initiated proceedings and the applicant was arrested by both SFIO and ED. In both cases, applicants had been granted regular bail by the Supreme Court and by the High Court respectively.

The counsel for the applicant said the applicant did not play any role in preparation of documents relating to merchanting trade and allegation of forgery cannot be attributed to the applicant.

The counsel for the applicant further said that the merchanting documents were prepared by foreign parties and sent to Globiz in India through the banks on acceptance. After acceptance by Globiz, these documents were then forwarded by the banks to the foreign buyer for their acceptance. Merchanting trade documents were approved by multiple banks once on the import leg of transaction and again on the export leg of transaction but the applicant did not prepare the document.

The counsel for the applicant also said bank officials are not named as accused in the case. It has been submitted that bank officials have checked and verified the documents but they are not accused.

The counsel for the applicant stated that there is no possibility of tampering with evidence or influencing witnesses because the documents have already been collected. There is no question to influence the witnesses in any manner, therefore, the applicant may be enlarged on bail.

The counsel for the applicant has further submitted that no offence under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 471 IPC is made out in the case.

It has been submitted by the counsel for the applicant that there is no evidence which indicates that bank funds were siphoned or diverted.

On the other hand, CBI counsel Anurag Kumar Singh submitted that the applicant is the Director and CEO of Frost International Ltd, Globiz Exim Pvt Ltd is a company of the Frost Group wherein the applicant is a shareholder, promoter and in-charge of the day-to-day operations of the company at Kanpur.

It has been further submitted that it is admitted in the case of the applicant that the total amount defrauded by the Frost Group of Companies is approximately Rs 4000 crore. In this case, M/s Globiz Exim Pvt Ltd Rs 10.01 crore and M/s Olympic Oil Industries Pvt Ltd Rs 6.67 crore.

The CBI counsel said investigation in respect of the fraudulent activities done by other two companies involved in the credit facilities availed are in progress.

The Court said it is thus clear that in the said case, the Supreme Court had granted interim protection for the period of eight weeks and directed Aman Preet to apply for regular bail before the trial court.

The Court held,

In the judgment of Satender Kumar Antil (supra), the guideline applicable in the case is category B/D wherein it is provided that on appearance of the accused in the court pursuant to process issued bail application to be decided on merit. The matter is pertaining to the defrauded huge amount of Rs 10.01 crore and specific allegation is levelled in the chargesheet against the applicant that he was looking after the overall trade and financial activities of the Frost Group of Companies including M/s Globiz Exim Private Limited and used to contact Rajesh Bothra and they were involved for imports of goods from M/s Fareast Distribution based at Singapore and export of the same goods of M/s Gulf Distribution Ltd under the alleged (LC) M/s Globiz Exim Private Limited and its director, namely, Arvind Srivastava and Saral Verma actually defrauded the amount of Rs 10.01 crore. The company through its directors in criminal conspiracy as well as Sujay Desai, had accepted the bogus document knowing fully well that the same were bogus as reflected in the documents presented before IOB, Kanpur.

“Looking into the overall facts and circumstances of the above discussion, on the issue of economic offence up to the tune of Rs 10.01 crore, and the role of the applicant who was looking after day-to-day affairs of the company, I do not find that it is a fit case for anticipatory bail,” the Court observed while rejecting the application.

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