The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to reply by Friday on a petition filed by Videocon Group founder Venugopal Dhoot, seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him by the Central agency in alleged ICICI-Videocon quid pro quo loan fraud case. Dhoot has sought that his arrest be be declared “arbitrary and illegal” and he be released on bail.
Agency seeks one week time to submit reply
CBI advocate Kuldeep Patil sought one week’s time to file reply.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Prithviraj Chavan, however, directed the agency to file its reply by Friday, January 13, when the plea will be heard.
Dhoot’s advocate had sought urgent hearing saying that he was suffering from “99 percent blockage in heart”.
Bail to Kochhars in same case
The bench, on Monday, had granted interim bail to former ICICI MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar, in the same case, observing that their arrests were “not in accordance with law”. The bench had come down heavily on the CBI for making the arrest in a “casual and mechanical” manner and without the application of mind.
On Tuesday, two advocates – Subhash Jha and Mathew Nedumpara – sought court’s permission to intervene in the matter and prayed that the bench recall its order granting bail to Kochhars.
The bench said it would consider on Friday whether the two advocates should be given a hearing.
Dhoot seeks quashing of FIR, stay on probe
Dhoot has sought quashing of the FIR and prayed that the probe be stayed. He has also sought his release on bail. The CBI arrested Dhoot on December 26, 2022, and is presently in judicial custody.
According to the petition, Dhoot termed his arrest by the CBI as “arbitrary, illegal, done without following due procedure of law and in gross violation of section 41 (A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which mandates for a notice to be issued to accused to join the probe and to make an arrest only if absolutely necessary”.
His plea states that he is a senior citizen suffering from serious ailments and having undergone multiple surgeries and hospitalisation in the last seven years.
Deeply rooted in India, not intention of absconding: Dhoot’s plea
Seeking release, his plea states that he is deeply rooted in India with no intention of absconding or evading arrest or obstructing CBI’s investigation.
He has also stated that he appeared before CBI on his own and on their request to cooperate with the investigation. Also, CBI failed to make out a case of his non co-operation to the investigation as a reason for his arrest.
Further, he has said that the special court carelessly and mechanically authorised the arrest which was carried out without necessary cause or reason.
A special CBI court in Mumbai had remanded Kochhars and Dhoot to judicial custody on December 29. Thereafter, Dhoot had approached the special court challenging his arrest. The special court rejected his application on January 5, opining that it does not have the power to review its own order remanding Dhoot to custody. Aggrieved by the same, Dhoot approached the High Court.