The Supreme Court while allowing interlocutory applications said that no proximate link could be established to justify the attachment of the property of relatives of the petitioner or the purchaser of her property to compensate for the defaults.

The two-Judge Bench of Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Sanjay Karol observed, “… the transfer of the property in the name of the present owners could not be linked to the transaction, subject matter of criminal investigation. … The Interlocutory Applications, for the reasons recorded hereinabove, and also for the particular reason that prima facie no proximate link could be established to justify the attachment of property of the relatives of the petitioner herein, or the purchaser of her property, to compensate for the defaults that may account to her or her husband; are allowed.”

The Bench de-attached the entire property in dispute and modified its order as prayed by the petitioner.

Advocate Yash Pal Dhingra appeared on behalf of the petitioner while ASG Aishwarya Bhati, Senior Advocates V. Mohana and Vikram S. Nankani, AAG Garima Prasad, and Advocate R.C. Kaushik appeared on behalf of the respondents.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner through interlocutory applications prayed for the vacation or modification of the order of the Apex Court so far as it reflected the properties of the applicants. In this matter, the property in dispute was alleged to have been owned by the petitioner and her husband who procured food grains and alleging fraud, cheating, and dishonesty, certain FIRs were registered against them.

The property was purchased in the year 1966 and was later created as HUF but however, subsequently in the year 1990, the same was dissolved and the property was partitioned vide a deed into four parts. Hence, such property was the subject matter in respect of vacation of the stay upon the right of transferring the property vide an order.

The Supreme Court in view of the facts of the case asserted, “The ownership of 5/1, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi resting with the applicants in IA No.6484 of 2018 is not a disputed position of fact. The assertion that the applicants therein do not have anything to do with/or are not in any way connected to the business dealing of petitioner – Ms. Ritika Awasty or her husband Mr. Virkaran Awasty also cannot be denied or disputed.”

The Court further noted in respect of the second property that it could not be pointed out from the material placed on record that it was a “sham” transaction.

“With the bona fide ownership of Mrs. Monica Gogia being established at least prima facie, and in the absence of any link prior or present of such bona fide owner with the business dealing of the petitioner or her husband, the continued operation of the Order dated 15.12.2017 is prejudicially affecting the rights of ownership which the applicant in IA No.58055 of 2021 undoubtedly enjoys”, said the Court.

The Court also said that the restriction imposed on the bona fide buyer and the owner from transferring the property is vacated.

“… this order is only limited to the reliefs as indicated in the instant applications and shall in no way come in the way of any other investigations/ proceedings connected with the main matter, not least the extradition proceedings that have been duly approved and are underway or any other proceedings indicated under the fiscal/penal laws of the land”, clarified the Court.

Accordingly, the Court held that the matter be listed once the extradition proceedings against the petitioner and her husband reach their logical and lawful conclusion.

Cause Title- Ritika Awasty v. State of U.P. & Ors.

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