MUMBAI: It was a case of an unnecessary arrest only to recover money, said the Bombay high court in a hard-hitting order, directing the sessions court to return an “excessive” bail amount of Rs 59 crore imposed on a realtor in Mumbai in an alleged case of cheating and misappropriation. The amount has to be returned with interest since February 12, 2016, when he was given bail, after three days’ police custody. “Courts are expected to put reasonable conditions… aimed at securing the presence of the accused at a trial and he should not hamper evidence or prosecution witnesses during pendency of trial,” said a bench of Justices RV More and PD Naik. “The court is not expected to recover the amount in a criminal proceedings by putting condition to deposit money while granting bail.” The judgment, passed on November 10, was on a plea made by Vyomesh Shah (56) of Hubtown Ltd and two others who challenged as “illegal”, their arrest and a bail condition imposed by a Mumbai sessions judge of Hubtown depositing Rs 59 crore in 12 instalments. Shah was named co-accused in a 2015 case where MLA Ramesh Kadam was an accused. Kadam, arrested in August 2015 and still in jail, was accused of hatching a conspiracy with others, for misappropriation of Rs 147 crore from Sahityaratna Lokshahir Annabhau Sathe Development Corporation, as its then chairperson. The fact that once Shah and others furnished the undertaking, State CID gave no objection to release them on bail, was not lost on the HC. “It appears that in fact the petitioners were arrested for recovery of money paid to them by Ramesh Kadam towards a commercial transaction for sale of Comral Realty Private Limited along with property owned by it (at Peddar Road worth Rs 120 crore),” said the HC, disbelieving that Shah and the two hatched a conspiracy with Kadam and his allies to cheat the corporation or to misappropriate funds. He in fact seems to be an “unfortunate victim of circumstances” and has entered into a legal transaction, not benami or illegal as alleged. The HC also defroze the Hubtown bank account. The trial will proceed on merit.
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