The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted interim protection from coercive steps for three weeks to Maharashtra BJP leader Prasad Lad in an FIR registered against him by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in 2015 pertaining to a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) contract.

A Division Bench of Justice P B Varale and Justice S M Modak, however, clarified that if it was revealed from the state government's reply that Lad was intimated about the alleged crime related to the contract in the last six years, then it will recall its order of interim relief to the BJP leader, who is a member of the Legislative Council.

According to Lad, in 2014 an FIR was registered against him - as a partner in BVG-Krystal Joint Venture - with the suburban Malad police station by a businessman, Bimal Agarwal, under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for alleged cheating and breach of trust related to the BMC contract.

In 2015, the case was transferred to the Mumbai police's EOW which registered a fresh FIR.

In his plea in the HC, Lad said that after a glaring gap of five years the state government has suddenly reopened the investigation into the 2015 FIR filed by the EOW.

Lad has claimed that on January 16, 2021, he had addressed a representation through his lawyer to the Mumbai Police Commissioner and Joint Police Commissioner (EOW) clarifying his stand in the case.

However, in December 2021, the EOW sent him a notice seeking to record his statement in connection with the civic contract, the plea said.

Apprehending arrest, the BJP leader approached the HC in February this year seeking quashing of the FIR registered by the EOW.

Pending the hearing of the petition, the legislator had sought that the EOW be restrained from filing a charge-sheet in the case.

In the interim, he had also sought that the state government be directed not to take any coercive steps against him.

With PTI inputs