The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to the BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil Somaiya in a case of alleged misappropriation of public money collected for the restoration of decommissioned naval aircraft carrier Vikrant.

A single-Judge Bench of Justice Bharathi Dangre allowed the plea of anticipatory bail of the Somaiyas in the case and made "absolute" the interim protection from arrest granted by the High Court to the duo on April 13 this year.

Earlier, Justice Anuja Prabhudessai of the Bombay High Court on April 13 and April 20 respectively had granted interim protection from arrest to Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil Somaiya simultaneously in this case.

Justice Dangre noted that the allegations against the BJP leader and his son were "unsubstantiated."

An FIR was registered against the BJP leader and his son on April 6 at the Trombay police station in Mumbai following a complaint by an ex-Army person, who claimed that former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had collected Rs 57 crore from the public in 2013 for restoration of Vikrant.

The complainant further stated that the collected money was never put to use or deposited with the Governor's office as per the initial plan.

Senior Counsel Shirish Gupte appeared for the Prosecution and argued before the High Court that the city police did not require Somaiya and his son's immediate custody.

Advocate Ashok Mundargi, who appeared for the Somaiyas, denied all allegations and told the High Court that this was a highly "politicised matter."

"The allegation (against the duo) is of misappropriation of funds. Though the complaint alleged that a whopping sum of Rs 57 crore was collected, there was no evidence of misappropriation," the HC said while allowing the anticipatory bail plea.

Further, the Court also noted that "Specific statements (of the police) and the investigation do not lead to such an inference (of misappropriation)."

The Court also noted that the police had served a notice to Kirit Somaiya and his son under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code, asking them to appear for questioning.

The Court also directed the duo to abide by the terms of the notice and report to the police station concerned for questioning on August 17.

The Bench concluded, "The specific order granting interim protection is made absolute."

With PTI inputs