The Mehta family handling the Lilavati Hospital Trust is amidst yet another controversy, although this time its not the family dispute revolving around the control of the hospital.
The Interpole has arrested diamond trader Rajesh Mehta, son of Kishor Mehta who claims to be the permanent trustee of the hospital in pursuant of the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by additional chief metropolitan magistrate (ACMM).
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had informed the Bombay High Court that Rajesh, a Non-Resident Indian settled in Antwerp in Belgium in 1997, was arrested by the Interpole on April 17 while the HC was hearing a petition filed by Rajesh seeking quashing of the NBW.
CBI counsel Raja Thakare told the HC on Friday that the agency has already initiated extradition proceedings against Rajesh.
The CBI had registered a case against directors of Beautiful Diamonds Limited - Kishor and Rajesh - on December 2, 2004 for cheating and forgery under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. According to the CBI, between the period 1999-2001 Beautiful Diamonds was sanctioned Export Packing Credit (EPC) and Export Bill Discounting Facilities (EPD) from a consortium of banks headed by the Bank of Baroda. Beautiful Diamonds Limited availed EPC to the tune of Rs 40.5 crore by allegedly submitting false and forged bills for purchase of rough diamonds from domestic source.
When Rajesh learnt about that CBI was inquiring about the Beautiful Diamonds in 2006, he wrote a letter to the CBI clarifying that he had resigned as a director of the company on October 3, 2000 itself. The first alleged transaction of submission of bogus bills is dated October 12, 2000, which is after his resignation.
As Rajesh did not remain present in the court, ACMM issued a NBW against him on July 12, 2006.
According to Rajesh’s counsel K. Tulsi, he is unable to appear here as he is arrested there in an unrelated case which has been concluded in his favour. “However, his bail application is not entertained at the court at Antwerp due to the pending NBW in India,” argued Tulsi. Also, the Indian Embassy in Brussels has issued a show cause notice to him as to why his passport should not be revoked, states Rajesh’s petition, after which he was asked to deposit his passport with the Embassy.
“AT no point of time summons were issued to Rajesh since the FIR was lodged and then directly NBW was issued,” Tulsi told Justice V.M. Kanade.
Vacation judge Justice V.M. Kanade has kept the matter for hearing after vacation in the second week of June.
Since the matter would be heard after nearly a month, would the counsels approach the Supreme Court for relief? Rajesh’s counsel Mahesh Jethmalani told HT, “Lets see. We’ll decide about that next week.”