Doubts were raised about a theft case against industrialist Atulya Mafatlal’s wife, Sheeta, by the Bombay high court on Wednesday.
Sheetal has been accused of stealing a painting, which belongs to Mangalya Trading and Investment, from Mafatlal House at Altamount Road.
“How would it amount to theft?” the division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Abhay Thipsay inquired, referring to the fact that admittedly there are only two directors of the firm, Atulya being one of them. “At the most, it may amount to breach of trust on the part of the director (Atulya, in whose custody the painting was kept), the judges said.
However, Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who represented the complainant Peter Waz, the other director of the firm, insisted that the painting by Manjeet Bawa, worth more than Rs2 crore, was owned by the company and all the directors of the company stood on the same footing — indirectly suggesting that neither of them nor their individual representatives had the authority to remove the valuable painting.
Sheetal’s counsel, Parvez Memon, however, said she removed around 37 paintings from the house before she left for London and kept them at a safe place. Memon added that Sheetal has also given an undertaking to the Gamdevi police that she would neither remove nor dispose of the paintings.
However, Memon said the Manjeet Bawa painting was not among those removed by her. “The painting was never in Mafatlal House,” Memon said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Waz seeking directions to Gamdevi police to register an FIR against Sheetal and transfer the investigation to the State CID. The court has now posted the petition for further hearing on October 11.