The Supreme Court directed the Bombay High Court on Thursday to consider the petition of Nirav Modi’s brother-in-law Mainak Mehta, seeking permission to travel back to his home in Hong Kong, afresh.
The Bench of Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala was hearing the petition filed by the British national, who lived in Hong Kong with his family.
Mehta returned to India on September 8, 2021 and made his first appearance before the court in Mumbai.
After a few months, the Britisher expressed that his work back home in Hong Kong was pending and that his family, including wife, children and elderly parents, needed him. Mehta was permitted to travel home.
The Apex Court took note of the fact that Mehta was willing to give authorisation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), so that it may directly approach the banks for disclosure of his account statements and also furnish security as required.
The national agency had approached the top court of the country against the Bombay High Court order allowing Mehta to travel to his home in Hong Kong.
Both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) were investigating the Punjab National Bank fraud case against Nirav Modi and have filed charge sheets in the case.
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Representing Mehta, Senior Advocate Amit Desai contended that the Britisher had fully cooperated with the process and that the Letter of Authorisation would be furnished as recommended to CBI.
However, the same shall be done provided that CBI furnished a time-frame within which Mehta would be permitted to travel abroad, noted Desai.
The Senior Advocate further submitted that Mehta was willing to furnish security, including title deeds of immovable properties of his parents as well as passports of his parents.
Desai contended that Mehta had fully cooperated and was yet not allowed to travel. People were now afraid to even cooperate, seeing his example of how he has been treated, he added.
CJI Chandrachud ruled that as the case had evolved before this court, it was apparent that the situation obtained before the High Court when the order was passed, was substantially different at present point consequent upon the demand of CBI.
The first respondent has been willing to give authorisation to CBI provided the time frame for the process to be completed was given. Regarding the issues which were sought to be raised by CBI, it would be appropriate for the proceedings to go back to the High Court.
The Apex Court ordered that it desisted for proceedings to go back to the CBI Special judge so there was no delay.
The top court of the country directed the High Court to consider the matter afresh and pass fresh orders within a month.
(Case title: CBI vs Mainak Mehta & Ors)