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Laxmi Vilas Hotel case: Rajasthan High Court stays attachment, makes warrants bailable

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Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court’s Jodhpur bench today converted the arrest warrants issued by the CBI Special Judge, on September 15 against Ashish Guha, Jyotsana Suri and Pradip Baijal into bailable warrants in the Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel disinvestment case.

The case involved the auction of the hotel by the Disinvestment Department of the government of India in 2002 to Bharat Hotel Ltd. The allegation is that the sale was illegal and in active connivance of the then Secretary of the Department of Disinvestment Pradip Baijal, Ashish Guha, Managing Director-Lazard India, financial advisor to the department and other unknown persons. It has been alleged that that sale caused a loss to the government exchequer and was wrongful gain for Bharat Hotels Ltd.

After rejecting the two subsequent closure reports filed by the investigating agency, CBI, the Special Judge issued arrest warrants against Arun Shourie, Pradip Baijal, Ashish Guha and Jyotsana Suri.

The high court, after hearing the submissions on behalf of the petitioners, observed that on the face of it the impugned order was perverse and illegal and direct issuance of arrest warrants was contrary to the due process of law.

The High Court further stayed the attachment of the Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel by the District Collector, Udaipur.

Jyotsana Suri was represented by Senior Counsels Harish Salve and P.P. Choudhary. 

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Ashish Guha was represented by Sanjiv Sen, Senior Advocate, assisted by a team of Karanjawala & Company Advocates.

Pradip Baijal was represented by Mukul Rohatgi, Senior Advocate.

-India Legal Bureau

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