The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed six directors of Secunderabad-based debt-ridden newspaper publishing house Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (DCHL) to appear before the Chandigarh judicial magistrate before August 13 in a Rs. 6-crore cheque bounce case.
The court headed by justice RP Nagrath ordered that if the DCHL directors follow the process of law and put in an appearance before the judicial magistrate, only then shall the court consider their application for exemption of personal presence during the case hearings.
The Chandigarh court had on May 18 issued non-bailable warrants against all directors of DCHL after they failed to appear before the court. The directors are T Venkatram Reddy, T Vinayaka Ravi Reddy, PK Iyer, M Sukumar Reddy, Venkaparamani Suresh, Karthik Iyer Parasuraman and Pendyal Siddhartha. However, the high court was informed on Friday that the Chandigarh police had already arrested Sukumar Reddy and he was granted bail by the judicial magistrate on Thursday after furnishing a security bond of Rs. 20 lakh.
The development took during the hearing of a petition moved by the DCHL directors against non-bailable warrants issued against them by the judicial magistrate on March 23 on a petition filed by Religare Enterprises, alleging that cheques issued by the DCHL on account of repayment of loans to its financial services arm Religare Finvest had bounced. The four cheques worth Rs. 6 crore that bounced were issued in favour of Religare Finvest on July 1 and August 1, 2012.
The petitioners had requested the high court to quash the complaint dated October 12, 2012, under sections 138 and 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, pending in the Chandigarh district court. The petitioners have also sought quashing of the summoning orders issued by the judicial magistrate on October 15, 2012, and quashing of non-bailable warrants issued to them on March 23.
The petitioners have contended that their loan agreement with Religare shows that as per terms and conditions, both parties had agreed to the exclusive jurisdiction of courts in New Delhi only. Hence, the Chandigarh trial court has ignored the clause of the loan agreement and illegally issued summon orders and non-bailable warrants.
The hearing of the case before the trial court is on July 30.