HC stays Dalmiya~~s arrest until March 23

Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:, Mar 21 (UNI) Bombay High Court yesterday restrained city police from arresting former BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya till March 23 and adjourned for further hearing his anticipatory bail application in the case of alleged misappropriation of funds worth Rs 21 lakh during the 1996 World Cup.

A battery of lawyers, Adhik Shirodkar, Satish Maneshinde and Rajendra Shirodkar-- appearing on behalf of Dalmiya, denied the allegations made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and contended that they have been made ''with an aim to finish him (Dalmiya)'' from the cricket politics while some of the charges are levelled ''at the behest of influential political leaders'' against whom the Dalmiyagroup had voted in the past.

The court was told that the allegations are ''baseless'' and are made with malafide intentions as each and every transaction and accounts were audited by BCCI auditors and the same were approved at the general body meeting every year.

The court was further told that the present administration of BCCI has been carrying out a vilification campaign against the petitioner, only with a view to seek vengeance against him.

Meanwhile, the defence pointed out that taking into consideration the nature of the allegations made in the complaint, which are non-bailable, there is every apprehension that the petitioner and his supporter would be arrested.

While making indirect allegation against Union Minister and BCCI Chief Sharad Pawar, the defence alleged that the Maharashtra Government is controlled by a political party headed by the Board President and ''there is every likelihood of political interference being exerted to arrest the petitioner and his colleague.''

The investigation in the case is solely on the basis of documents which are in possession of the BCCI and are on record, the defence further told a packed court.

''The investigation can proceed without even committing the petitioner to custody. The investigation will not be hampered in any manner but proceed very smoothly,'' the defence added.

The defence also contended that Dalmiya is an industrialist and paying huge income tax to the department, and asked how he could be involved in an alleged ''misappropriation of such a small amount.''

It was also pointed out to the court that initially the complaint was lodged with the Marine Drive police station here by BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah, while later on the same was transferred to the economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, within three days of the FIR being registered.

The defence alleged that transferring the probe of ''such a small amount misappropriation'' to the EOW itself proved that there was some vested interest behind doing so.

While opposing the plea, Chief Public Prosecutor Satish Borulkar contended that the case should have first gone to the sessions court and then come to the High Court, as lower remedy was available.

In response, the defence argued that while approaching the sessions court for anticipatory bail, Dalmiya would have to be present there and if it rejected his appeal, he could have been arrested right there, according to a State amendment.

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