INS Vikrant cheating case: HC extends interim protection from arrest to BJP leader Kirit Somaiya, son till August 10
The Bombay High Court on Thursday extended the interim protection from arrest to BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil till August 10 in connection with a cheating case alleging swindling of funds collected for the restoration of INS Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier.
The High Court had earlier granted interim protection from arrest to Somaiya and his son till July 7 and asked them to cooperate with the probe while seeking the investigation progress report from Mumbai Police.
Before that, a single-judge bench of Justice Bharati H Dangre had extended the time for the Mumbai police to file its affidavit in reply to Somaiya’s plea. On Thursday, the bench extended interim relief to both of them till August 10 and adjourned the hearing.
In April this year, while granting interim protection from arrest to the two, the court had noted that in the event of arrest, applicants should be released on bail after furnishing a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and sureties in like amount, and asked the duo to attend the investigating agency.
While granting interim protection to Somaiya, the court had observed that the First Information Report (FIR) indicated that the allegations were mainly based on media reports. “Though there were specific allegations of misappropriation of Rs 57 crore, there was no material on record to indicate on what basis the complainant had arrived at the said figure,” observed the court.
“It is also to be noted that the complaint had been lodged in 2022 for money allegedly collected in 2013,” the bench had said.
It had prima facie observed that the complaint was “vague” and had granted interim relief to Somaiya.
The complaint of cheating was filed at the Trombay police station by a former Indian Army man, claiming that a donation drive was started by Kirit Somaiya in 2013 to prevent INS Vikrant from being decommissioned and scrapped. He said in his complaint that Somaiya, his son Neil, and others had collected funds by setting up donation boxes at various locations in the city.
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