HC cancels the bond of the former IL&FS VC

Swati Deshpande | TNN

Mumbai: In a setback for the former vice president of Leasing Infrastructure and Financial Services (IL&FS), Bombay on Tuesday canceled the interim that was granted by a court of sessions in a case of alleged fraud and greening of the company.

He was granted bail by a lower court for eight weeks last month. In addition, the HC also last month, in a significant ruling, reversed the criminal case initiated by the Office of Serious Fraud Investigation (SFIO) against Sankaran and several former auditors of IL&FS Financial Services (IFIN). Armed with the annulment order, which although he remained with the HC, Sankaran had requested bail, as his lawyer Aabad Ponda argued that a suspension would not work in a lower court. The SFIO moved quickly to cancel the provisional relief before the HC.

The agency, through additional attorney general Anil Singh and HS Venegaonkar, argued that they would appeal the annulment order to the SC and, since he had not yet been released from Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai, he should not do so. Judge CV Bhadang ordered that the trial court finally decide on his release on bail within six weeks. In his order, Judge C V Bhadang said that while the HC does not easily interfere with a bail, it will depend on the facts of each case. The fact that the special judge has not even registered at first sight any finding on the applicability of the provisions regarding bail, I believe that the order suffers from weakness to require interference, said the HC, while neglecting the provisional bail order.

In a related development, Another defendant in the IL&FS case, former IL&FS MD R Karunakaran arrested last June by the Compliance Directorate (ED), sought bail for health reasons during the shutdown. His lawyer, Ponda, said, given that he is 65 years old and his state of health, he could be susceptible to contracting the Covid-19 infection in the Taloja prison where he is housed.

Emergency attorney Venegaonkar argued that there was no immediate health risk and that a report by prison authorities showed that they were taking due care to prevent any Covid outbreak in prison. The HC did not grant Karunakaran any urgent provisional relief and published the matter for its hearing after two weeks.