Delhi HC Grants Bail To Chartered Accountant In SFIO Case
The Delhi High Court has granted bail to a chartered accountant in connection with the SFIO case related to alleged irregularities at Bhushan Steel Limited.
Justice Jasmeet Singh said since the ex-promoters/directors and similarly situated chartered accountants have been granted bail in the matter, there was no reason why the applicant, Sunil Bhatia, should not be given the same relief.
The Court also opined that prima facie, the applicant, a senior citizen, was not guilty of the offence alleged against him and was not likely to commit any further offence while on bail, and directed that he be released on a personal bond with two local sureties in the sum of Rs 25,000 each.
I am prima facie of the view that the applicant is not guilty of the offence of which he is charged with, and therefore, I am also of the opinion, that he is not likely to commit any further offence while on bail... The application is allowed. The applicant, Sunil Bhatia (accused no. 200) in complaint case no. 770/2019 is enlarged on bail, said the Court in its order dated July 7.
"I am of the view that since the ex-promoters/directors and similarly situated chartered accountants have been granted bail, there is no reason why the Applicant should be treated any differently", the Court observed.
Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) is being probed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on account of allegations of siphoning off money by its promoters. The allegation against the applicant was that he, being a chartered accountant and one of the partners at the firm appointed as stock auditors by the consortium of banks concerned for financial year 2015-16, acted in violation of the Companies Act when he failed to perform his duty independently and diligently.
The applicant's bail plea before the high court was opposed by the investigating agency which argued that economic offences are a crime of grave and serious nature.
In August 2019, the trial court had summoned the applicant in the matter on the basis of investigation report and allegations contained in the complaint.
On June 1, 2022, when the applicant went to attend the court proceedings, the trial court dismissed his bail application and took him in judicial custody.
In its order, the court noted that after the summoning order, the applicant had not been arrested till June 2022 without there being any protection in his favour and there was no reason shown for seeking his judicial custody.
With PTI inputs