Delhi High Court


Delhi High Court: In a bail application pursuant to a First Information Report (‘FIR’) registered with Economic Offences Wing (‘EOW’), the bench of Yogesh Khanna, J., admitted the two accused persons on bail on furnishing personal bond with directions to always keep their mobile location app open and restricted them from exiting the country without the leave of the Trial Court.

In the case at hand, both the accused persons were directors of the company- Cosmic Structures Limited (‘accused company’) and have spent approximately 6years in imprisonment. The allegations levied against accused company were that it raised projects on lands without the permission of the rightful owner or obtaining no objection certification. Further it did not have the approval of Noida/ Greater Noida Authority for raising such projects and went on to cheat the customers by not handing over the units to them on time. Moreover, the accused company did not pay the assured return as promised and siphoned off the booking amount collected by them.

The alleged cheated amount was a whooping Rs. 148 crores, out of which the Investigating Officer had frozen a substantial chunk. The accused persons submitted that various efforts were made before the National Company Law Tribunal (‘NCLT’) to revive schemes, however, it was turning out to be unviable and difficult to sustain it, since the ex-directors were in judicial custody.

The accused company propounded multiple schemes for collaboration with other companies who proposed to invest an amount in return of various development projects and alike, however, no order has been passed by NCLT till date. The petitioners contended to have given assured returns to customers till March 2015.

However, the respondent while opposing the bail application contends that the offence falls under the umbrella of ‘economic offences’ and that the accused company was running with the sole objective to cheat the investors by opening various shell companies to siphon off the funds. The respondent further went on to state that material damage was done to the economy and no concrete steps were taken to revive the plan.

The Court took note of the fact that the accused persons were inclined to co-operate with the investors and time and again were giving schemes to revive the projects.

The Court relied on Paresh Nathalal Chauhan v. State of Gujarat SLP (CRL.) 9458-59/2021, wherein the Court viewed that “the appellant cannot be indefinitely detained in custody more so having already undergone a period of 25 months of custody when he can be sent behind bars for maximum five years. It is almost 50% of the sentence.”

The Court further relied to a case of multi scam of over 900 victims, Sunder Singh Bhati v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 134, wherein the Court stated that the petitioners have been in custody for over a year, chargesheet as well as supplementary chargesheet was filed and all the evidence available was documented and in custody of the investigating agency. Thus, the petitioners were no longer required to be in custody and were enlarged on bail.

While concluding, the Court noted that the chargesheet had been filed and trial was yet to begin where numerous witnesses were to be examined. Further, there was no possibility of dropping of evidence and the accused were not a flight risk, as their passports were surrendered. Moreover, they were earlier released on interim bail and did not misuse the liberty and have been in judicial custody for the last 5 years. The Court also went on to consider the applicability of Section 436(A) CrPC and all the evidence being documented and in custody of the Investigating Officer, resultant to which tampering of evidence was ruled out. The Court also viewed that the accused persons were giving various schemes, including upfront payments, though not accepted, as they were in jail. They were already granted bail in 3other FIRs pending for adjudication. Thus, the Court admitted both the accused persons on bail on furnishing personal bond before the Trial Court.

[Nishant Muttreja & Sushant Muttreja v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 4446, decided on 16-12-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Accused- Senior Advocate Pramod Kumar Dubey;

Advocate Apoorv Agarwal;

Advocate Vaibhav Manu Srivastava;

Advocate Divya;

Advocate Nikita;

Advocate Shikha Khurana;

For the Respondent- Additional Standing Counsel Rupali Bandhopadhya;

Advocate Akshay Kumar;

Advocate Abhijeet Kumar;

Advocate Kalyan Dutt.

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