Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Bhushan Steel Ex-CFO In Fraud Case
The Delhi High Court granted bail to Bhushan Steel's former chief financial officer and director Nittin Johari, who was arrested by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office for alleged fraudulent activities.
Justice Sunil Gaur gave the relief to Johari, who was arrested by the SFIO on May 2 and is in judicial custody.
“I find that broad probabilities of this case justify release of petitioner (Johari) on bail. Without commenting on the merits of this case, it is directed that the petitioner be admitted to bail subject to his furnishing bail bond in the sum of Rs 1 lakh with two local sureties in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court...,” the judge said in its 10-page bail order.
The court, after perusing the contents of the complaint, said it becomes evident that the “mind and will of the accused company are the main accused—Brij Bhushan Singal and Neeraj Singal, who had been actually controlling the company.”
It is a matter of record that main accused Brij Bhushan Singal has not been arrested and co-accused Neeraj Singal has already been granted bail, it said.
The court noted that the high court’s division bench order granting bail to Neeraj Singal has been stayed by the Supreme Court but his release on bail has not been reversed by the top court.
“The reason to stay the order in the case of Neeraj Singal was on account of the observations made therein, which were of far reaching consequences. In any case, this court has applied its mind to the role played by petitioner (Johari) in commission of offence in question...” it said.
According to SFIO, he was arrested for alleged fraudulent activities, including filing false documents with various banks.
It had said that he was managing the affairs of Bhushan Steel and was looking after raising of funds from banks and financial institutions. He was also one of the signatories to the financial statements of the company till fiscal year 2016-17.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur and lawyer Arshdeep, appearing for Johari, said he is the only accused in custody. Co-accused Neeraj Singal was granted bail and no efforts were made by the SFIO to arrest the other co-accused in the case, the said.
The plea was opposed by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Acharya and advocate Ajay Digpaul, representing SFIO, opposed the bail plea saying irrespective of there being no wrongful gain or loss, still the offence alleged is committed.
They contended that the offence allegedly committed by Johari adversely impacts the economy of the country and it was a fit case for refusal of bail to the accused.
SFIO probe found that there were several alleged fraudulent practices at the company, including manipulations in the accounts and financial statements during the term of Johari. These included maintaining inflated inventories for availing enhanced working capital, it had said.
SFIO had said that Johari was a member of the committee of board of directors on borrowing, investment and loans along with former promoters Brij Bhushan Singal and Neeraj Singal. He was a whole-time director of the company.