High Court extends stay on arrest of Dalmiya

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:Bombay High Court today extended the interim protection from arrest granted to former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya and three other ex-officials till April 10 and directed them to attend the inquiries before Mumbai and Kolkata police in a case of alleged misappropriation of the Board funds.

Justice V M Kanade, who was hearing the anticipatory bail plea moved by petitioners, accused of misappropriating Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) funds to the tune of Rs 21 lakh during to the 1996 World Cup, in his order directed them to attend the office of Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police on March 27, 28, 29 and 31 and also to attend the Kolkata police inquiry into the matter on April 3, 4 and 5.

The court also directed tham not to leave the country without the permission of the court.

The court also told the accused that they would come to know which wing of the Kolkata police will hold an inquiry into the matter, during the investigations by the Mumbai police.

Strongly opposing the bail plea, State Advocate General Ravi Kadam argued that the case needs custodial interrogation and, therefore, the accused should not be granted anticipatory bail, as they have been charged with siphoning-off and misappropriating large amount of money from the BCCI fund.

However, while moving the bail application of Dalmiya and others, advocates Adhik Shirodkar, Satish Maneshinde and Siyaji Nagre denied the allegation made by the prosecution and contended that the case does not need any custodial interrogation, as it is based on documents, which are already in the custody of either the prosecution or the concerned banks.

They argued that it is a ''case of purely civil nature'' and the police is unnecessarily portrafying it as a criminal one.

They also told the court that the release of the accused on bail would neither hamper the investigation, or could influence the witnesses.

Mr Shirodkar further argued that at the instance of top political leaders, a ''false and fabricated case'' has been lodged against the petitioners, with an aim to tarnish their image in the cricket world, and public at large. He said lodging of a complaint after 10 years of the alleged crime itself showed that it was made with a malafide intention, as the accounts of BCCI were audited by reputed firms every year if there was any shortcoming on the part of the petitioners, why was it not pointed out at that time,'' he queried.

The counsel also said Dalmiya and others are ready to face any inquiry, anywhere, and added that the investigation could proceed without even committing the petitioners to custody.

Meanwhile, advocate Shirish Gupte, arguing on behalf of BCCI, said it is a clear case of misappropriation and hence, criminal action is justified. He, however, denied that Dalmiya and others were victims of ''internal politics.'' While responding to the defence argument that the amount spent through imprest account was made to pay for the official visits of Dalmiya abroad, Mr Gupte said BCCI has a tie-up with various hotels and travel agencies, therefore, there was no need of using the funds from the imprest account.

Meanwhile, the court pulled up the defence lawyers for ''interrupting'' the Advocate General's argument.

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