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Ex-chairman of Bhushan Steel should go to trial court for bail: SFIO to HC

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that Bhushan Steel's former chairman Brij Bhushan Singal and his daughter-in-law, summoned as accused in a fraud case, should appear before a trial court for seeking bail.
Brij Bhushan Singal and his son Neeraj Singal are accused of siphoning off Bhushan Steel Ltd funds.
The agency made the submission during the hearing of the anticipatory bail pleas of Brij Bhushan Singal and his daughter-in-law Ritu.
Solicitor General Maninder Acharya told Justice Vibhu Bakhru that the apprehension of the accused that they will be arrested when they appear before the trial court, which has summoned them for October 14, was unfounded.
"The trial court has taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by the SFIO in the case and has summoned them to appear on October 14. They first have to seek bail from the trial court and not from the high court," Acharya, along with central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, said.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra and Arshdeep Singh, representing Brij Bhushan Singal and Ritu, said they have an apprehension that the 82-year-old and the woman will be arrested once they appear before the trial court and they need protection from arrest.
The high court asked the counsel for SFIO to seek instructions on the matter and listed it for hearing on October 1.
Brij Bhushan Singal and Ritu have moved the high court after a trial court summoned him and other 286 accused in the fraud case to appear before it.
Brij Bhushan Singal, who has been summoned on October 14, said he apprehends he will be arrested when he appears before the trial court and has sought anticipatory bail claiming that he suffers from various ailments like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, asthma and parkinsonism with dementia.
The case against the company, its former promoters and others, was filed on a complaint by the SFIO, which comes under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The ministry in 2016 directed the SFIO to investigate the affairs of Bhushan Steel Ltd (BSL).
Brij Bhushan Singal claimed that he cooperated with the investigation, appeared thrice before the SFIO when he was summoned.
After the investigation report was submitted to the ministry, it directed initiation of prosecution against all the accused mentioned in the report and thereafter, the SFIO on July 1 filed a complaint in the trial court.
The trial court on August 16 took cognisance of the offences, under the Companies Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC), mentioned in the complaint and issued summons to all the accused.
According to the petition, the SFIO complaint alleged that the former promoters manipulated stocks in the books of accounts to show inflated figures on the basis of false valuation reports.
The SFIO also alleged that the former promoters opened fake letters of credit and created fake vouchers to siphon off funds from the company, the petition said.
Brij Bhushan Singal sought pre-arrest bail on the grounds that the investigation was complete, he was not arrested during the probe, he cooperated with the SFIO.
In his plea, he said he is innocent, aged and requires constant medical support.

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First Published: Sep 26 2019 | 8:05 PM IST

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