Need to view economic offences involving huge amount of investors' money seriously, SC cancels bail

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled the bail granted by the Orissa High Court to two top officials of one Tower Infotech Limited in a chit fund scam.

While cancelling the bail granted to the Respondents, the Bench of Justices Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna said,

"This Court is conscious of the need to view such economic offences having a deep­rooted conspiracy and involving a huge loss of  investors’ money seriously."

The Court passed this judgment in petitions filed by the CBI against the decision of the Orissa High Court to enlarge on bail, the CMD and Director, Ramendu Chattopadhyay and Ashis Chatterjee, of the accused company.

The Court noted that while the investigation is still on, prima facie it appears that the two Respondents had a key role to play in siphoning off of investor's money. In its judgment, the Court said,

"We are of the prima facie view that if the Respondent continues on bail, there is little chance of realizing any amount by selling the properties of the Tower Group of companies, since he may use unlawful tactics to keep prospective buyers away."

It is pointed out that the liability of the accused company could possibly be to the tune of Rs. 350 Crores as argued by the Counsel. However, the investigating agency has yet not assessed the exact amount of investment made by people in this company. The CBI had lodged a First Information Report in this case in compliance with the orders passed by the Supreme Court in the case relating to Saradha Chit fund scam.

The Respondents were granted interim bail by the High Court as far back as in 2017 and the same was extended on multiple occasions for the purpose of Respondents assisting the one-man committee of Justice (retd) SP Talukdar which was set up for liquidating the assets of the accused company. However, not a single property of the accused company was sold during this period and the purpose for the interim bail was frustrated, the CBI had argued before the Court. This argument of the CBI was buttressed by the letter written by Justice Talukdar which underscored that no money was deposited in the account of the committee nor anything returned to the investors.

The Court thus allowed the petitions filed by the CBI and cancelled the bail granted by the Orissa High Court.

The CBI was represented by Senior Counsel Aishwarya Bhati and assisted by Advocate Kanu Agrawal and the Respondents were represented by Senior Counsel Basanth.

Source: BAR & BENCH

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