Vadodara sessions court on Tuesday heard the first bail plea of Mansukh Shah, President of Sumandeep Vidyapeeth, who was arrested by Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on the charges of corruption. The ACB had filed its charge sheet on April 26.
While the defence counsel contended that Mansukh has been “cooperative” with the investigators, the special public prosecutor raised a possibility of an “economic offence” in the university, which had recently “purchased two currency-counting machines” despite being a deemed university by University Grant Commission (UGC).
The court has asked Defence lawyer B R Trivedi to submit a reply on Thursday.
Trivedi argued that Mansukh, who is in judicial custody, had always “cooperated with the investigation” in various other cases in the past. Trivedi assured the court that Mansukh will be available for trial and further investigation in this case whenever necessary, even on bail.
He also argued that the investigators had gathered all necessary evidences and recovered all documents.
“So, the question of tampering with the evidences does not arise,” said the counsel, citing Mansukh’s medical complications while seeking bail.
Trivedi also pointed out that the ACB has been unsuccessful in arresting the fourth accused Dr Dhrumil Shah who, according to the charge sheet, used to work for Sumandeep Vidyapeeth.
Opposing the bail plea, Special Public Prosecutor Bharat Badami, who has also served for Central Bureau of Investigation, argued that Mansukh had “misused his power and position of a public servant for illegal gratification”.
Badami also pointed out that the investigation is still under way as the case is of a serious economic offence in the educational institution and that too in a reputed course like MBBS.
Badami brought to fore the fact that the varsity had purchased two currency-counting machines, when as per the UGC guidelines, no financial transaction should be done in cash in deemed universities. “This raises questions of economic offence and conspiracy in the direction of loss of public money,” Badami said.
Dismissing the defence’s plea on health grounds, Badami contended that the jail authorities can provide necessary medical facilities to the accused if needed. However, a bail would mean that Mansukh could “influence witnesses and tamper with evidences by using his muscle and money power,” the prosecutor added.