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ONGC case: Mumbai court grants bail to contractor, says will forfeit deposit if he delays trial

The court warned Mahdoom Bahrudeen if he caused any delay in the trial, the deposit would be forfeited

mumbai Updated: Aug 26, 2017 18:05 IST
Charul Shah
Charul Shah
Hindustan Times

The metropolitan magistrate court has granted bail to a contractor who was booked for allegedly cheating Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) of Rs114.76 crore, only on the condition that he deposited 10% of the defrauded amount.

The court warned Mahdoom Bahrudeen if he caused any delay in the trial, the amount would be forfeited.

To prevent delays in trials, the order may set a precedent in cases related to economic offences.

The prosecution has accused Behrudeen, director of NaftoGaz India Pvt Ltd, of misrepresentation while obtaining a contract from ONGC. The estimated cost of the project was Rs740.02 crore.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the case, claimed that the company misrepresented itself during the bidding process. “The company secured the contract and got unlawful gain owing to false representation and forged documents. It did not complete the work as per the terms and condition of the contract,” the agency said.

According to the CBI, after finding the discrepancy in the project, ONGC discontinued the contract and by the time, it incurred an expenditure of Rs 255.24 crore, including Rs 234.36 crore which was paid to NaftoGaz. It received possession of physical assets amounting to Rs 59.72 crore supplied by the contractor. It also forfeited bank guarantee of Rs 80.76 crore. NaftoGaz India Pvt Ltd thus caused a loss of Rs 114.76 crore to ONGC, said the CBI.

ONGC lodged a complaint with the CBI in 2014. The central agency filed a charge sheet last month and a summons to the accused was issued.

The accused were formally arrested after the charge sheet was filed.

On Monday, they argued that as they were not arrested in the past three years, they should be granted bail.

The investigating agency opposed the plea, on the ground that offence was of economic nature. It also said that the accused may also tamper with evidence and even flee the country.

The court however debunked the objection and observed that It was a settled principle of law that if the accused had not been arrested during the course of investigation and if he appears before the court on his own, they were entitled for bail.

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 18:05 IST