Thursday, October 6, 2022

INS Vikrant case: BJP leader moves Bombay High Court

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Tuesday approached the Bombay High Court challenging the order of a sessions court here that denied him anticipatory bail in a case of alleged misappropriation of over Rs 57 crore funds collected to save the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant from dismantling in 2014.
Somaiya, through his counsel Niranjan Mundargi, moved the HC claiming that the sessions court’s order issued on Monday was erroneous.
In his plea in the high court, Kirit Somaiya has said that the complaint was delayed and filed after nine years.
He said that similar donations had also been collected by other political parties including Shiv Sena and Congress. He further said that the drive was not conducted by him in an individual capacity but at the party level.
As per the high court’s website, Somaiya’s plea is likely to be heard on April 19.
Special Judge R K Rokade, while rejecting Somaiya’s anticipatory bail on Monday, had said that there was prima facie proof including photographs, which showed that funds were collected for the restoration of INS Vikrant.
The court had said that some pictures showed that Somaiya had collected money and pointed out a letter saying that he was going to deposit the money with the (Maharashtra) governor, but the same was not deposited with the state governor’s office.
An FIR was registered at Trombay police station following a complaint by an ex-Army man claiming that a donation drive was started by Somaiya in 2013 to prevent the decommissioned warship from being dismantled and scrapped.
The complaint said that Somaiya, his son Neil Somaiya, and others had collected funds by setting up donation boxes at various locations in Mumbai. The complainant stated that he had donated Rs 2,000 for the cause, but, in 2014, he learnt that the warship had been scrapped and auctioned to a company for Rs 60 crore.
Commissioned in 1961, INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, had played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pak war of 1971.
It was decommissioned in 1997. In January 2014, the ship was sold through an online auction and scrapped in November that year.