Read Judgement: Gaurav Kirpal v. Central Bureau of Investigation
Chandigarh, August 23, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected the petition, filed by an accused in a case of bank fraud to the tune of Rs 300 crore, challenging an order of a special CBI court that rejected his application seeking permission to travel to Dubai and USA.
The main reason for dismissing the petition by the High Court was the fact that the accused was involved in a serious fraud case amounting to a loss of Rs.300 crores to Indian Overseas Bank. The Court observed that the petitioner had moved this application just to escape facing the trial and he might have fled from the process of law.
The petitioner had vehemently contended that he was a frequent traveller to various countries in connection with his business of readymade garments and till 2016, he was visiting abroad. On August 10, 2016, when he was going to Dubai, he was stopped at the Immigration deck of IGI Airport, New Delhi on the basis of the restrictions imposed by the CBI.
It was further argued that the Special Court, PMLA, Chandigarh had granted permission to the petitioner to travel abroad i.e. to Dubai and USA, and prayed that the CBI, Special Court had wrongly declined the prayer to allow him to travel abroad.
The State explicated that all the immovable and movable assets of the petitioner were seized by the Indian Overseas Bank and total value of these properties is Rs.12.35 crores. According to the State as the business of the petitioner in India was not going well, there was every possibility that the petitioner might flee from the country and would never come back to India to face legal action.
A bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan noted that the chargesheet had already been presented before the Trial Court and upon framing of the charges, the trial is likely to commence soon as it was already delayed for a period of about 5 years.
While refusing to allow the petition, the Bench observed that in the chargesheet there were serious allegations against the petitioner and it was the case of the prosecution that a fraud of Rs.300 crores had been committed by the accused in conspiracy with each other.
As per the charge-sheet, the petitioner , Gaurav Kirpal, has not only been the Director of M/s. Sai Bhakti Impex Private Limited but has also been holding various other positions such as authorized signatory or proprietor of M/s. Best Exports and also of M/s. Omkara Worldwide Traders Private Limited. It was clear from the accounts of these firms that payments were made for bearing the expenses of air travel tickets of main accused Ashu Mehra and his family members, noted the Court.
The Bench also added that the chargesheet stated that from the accounts of these firms maintained with Indian Overseas Bank, Chandigarh and IndusInd Bank, Ludhiana, funds had been credited in the accounts of M/s. Vision Procon and M/s. Heights International, which ultimately formed part of Outward Remittances and thus, the allegations against the petitioners were that he was an instrument in siphoning off the funds.
The Bench, thus, found no illegality in the impugned order that the petitioner was involved in serious fraud case amounting to a loss of Rs 300 crores to Indian Overseas Bank.
Justice Sangwan also made it clear that the petitioner had moved an application just to escape facing the trial and he might flee from the process of law.
Also, in view of the fact that the Trial Court had also observed that from the proceeds of the crime, the accused had already purchased property in UAE, which also stood attached, the present petition was dismissed.