Mumbai: In a relief to the Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel, the Bombay high court has disposed of a bunch of Public interest litigations (PILs) challenging deletion of his name as an accused in an old case involving a company dealing in automobiles.
The PILs had sought quashing of a magistrate’s order which had deleted Patel’s name as an accused in a complaint filed by Unit Trust of India (UTI) against the company Auto Riders, alleging misuse of funds disbursed to finance auto loans.
Patel was a former non executive director in Auto Riders and had laid down office in 1999.
The High court also did not accept the prayer made in PILs that the case be transferred to CBI, a plea opposed by the state government counsel.
A bench of Chief Justice Swantanter Kumar and Justice S C Dharmadhikari, however, directed CID to complete the pending investigations in the alleged irregularities within six months.
By a common order the court disposed of four PILs and a petition filed by UTI.
The bench rejected the prayer made in PILs that Patel’s name had been wrongly deleted in the list of accused and should be included.
Patel’s counsel Milind Sathe argued that he had ceased to be director of Auto Riders in 1999. In 2000, loans were restructured and the new Board was responsible.
UTI had alleged in its complaint that Auto Riders had “misused” Rs126 crore it had received as loans from UTI and a few banks between 1993 and 1999. The company’s directors had “diverted” the money for buying real estate, UTI alleged.
The company was in the business of leasing luxury cars and money was meant to be used for buying vehicles.