New Delhi: Gautam Doshi, managing director of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group, was denied permission to attend the annual general meeting of Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd by the 2G special court on Thursday.
Doshi, who was arrested by the CBI for his alleged role in the second-generation (2G) spectrum allocation case, is currently in judicial custody and will not attend the AGM scheduled for 23 July in Tuticorin. He is the chairman of the company’s audit committee.
Doshi’s position at Sterlite requires him to be present at the AGM under section 292 (A) of the Companies Act. His lawyers made an application to the court asking that he be allowed to attend, because “if he fails to attend the meeting of the company, the company as well as the applicant (Doshi) will suffer penal consequences.”
Doshi also offered to pay for his transport as well as that of the security expenses of the police.
CBI’s public prosecutor opposed his plea arguing that the audit committee could nominate another chairman in Doshi’s place.
Judge O.P. Saini dismissed the application on the ground that “a citizen can be deprived of such liberty according to procedure established by law.”
“State machinery cannot be made subservient to the money power of accused to serve out his professional interest as attending AGM pertains to his professional work. This is all the more important in a case in which the applicant is accused of subverting state policy in connivance with the minister of communications and IT and high-ranking public servants,” ruled the court.
“I may add that a person can be made to suffer penal consequences only when the default committed by him is willful. When the accused is in custody, he cannot be accused of a willful default in not attending the AGM,” Saini said.