HC stays arrest warrants for 3 petitioners in Rajasthan hotel sale case
The high court also ordered that possession of the property, which was handed over by the court to the state government on September 16, be given back to the private company that ran it.Updated: Sep 23, 2020, 01:11 IST
The Rajasthan high court on Tuesday stayed arrest warrants issued against three persons by a special Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) court in connection with alleged corruption in the 2002 sale of a hotel in Udaipur.
The high court also ordered that possession of the property, which was handed over by the court to the state government on September 16, be given back to the private company that ran it.
The court’s decision came on petitions filed by Jyotsna Suri, chairperson and managing director of Bharat Hotels Limited, former disinvestment secretary Pradeep Baijal and then managing director of investment firm Lazard India Limited, Ashish Guha.
“Petitioners shall not be arrested in pursuance of the arrest warrant issued in relation to the order passed by special judge, CBI cases, Jodhpur. Petitioners shall appear before the court below on October 8 and furnish a personal bond and two sureties,” the single-judge bench of justice Dinesh Mehta said.
On September 16, the special CBI court ordered the registration of criminal cases against former Union disinvestment minister Arun Shourie, Baijal, Suri, Guha and Karamsey Vikamsey, then head of valuation firm Kanti Karamsey & Co. The CBI court’s order came despite the agency filing a closure report.
The court will hear a petition by Shourie on Wednesday.
The case centres on the sale of the Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur, earlier run by the Indian Tourism Development Corporation, to Bharat Hotels Limited in 2002. The CBI filed an FIR in 2014, alleging that government lost Rs 244 crore in the sale.
Justice Mehta said that attaching the property of a running hotel business for a transaction that took place in 2002,that too, without notice to the petitioner or her hotel, is beyond comprehension; particularly when a decision about the petitioner’s involvement or guilt was yet to be taken by the court.