The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a government notification to attach over Rs 1000 crore worth property belonging to late stock broker Harshad Mehta in Mumbai as the family failed to explain the source of their income.
The apex court, while dismissing the appeal of Mehta’s female family members — all housewives — said properties of third party beneficiaries can also be attached even if they were not directly linked to the illegal securities transactions.
A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan refused to interfere with the February 26, 2008, judgement of a special court which under the provisions of the Trial of Offences Relating to Transactions in Securities Act, 1992, upheld the notification issued by the Custodian on January 4, 2007.
Harshad Mehta had shot into controversy in 1992 after the stock market was rocked by the multi-crore rupee scam exposing a strong nexus between the sharemarket, banks and financial institutions to dupe lakhs of investors across the country.
The appeal was filed by Rasila S Mehta, Rina S Mehta and Jyothi Mehta, mother, sister-in-law and wife respectively of Harshad Mehta.
“The important aspect is that the appellants have not explained the source of their income. The appellants are housewives having no independent source of income.
“It is impossible for such persons to have such huge amounts of money unless they were the beneficiaries of the money diverted by late Harshad Mehta and his other family members who were notified and firms belonging to the Harshad Mehta Group. The appellants have not been able to reveal their source of income either to the Custodian or to the Income Tax authorities,” Justice Sathasivam writing the judgement said.