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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Vadodara: Court rejects contractor’s bail plea citing twins’ birth

The case pertains to the construction of the controversial Agora City Centre project, which is part of the PPP model project of slum rehabilitation awarded by the VMC to M/s Manav Infrastructure.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
August 13, 2021 12:56:57 am
vadodara, vadodara court, Agora City Centre project, Vadodara Municipal Corporation, VMC, indian express, indian express news, gujarat newsAn on-site hoarding of Agora-2 in Vadodara. (Express Photo by Bhupendra Rana)

A Vadodara court on Thursday rejected the bail application of a civil contractor who is accused of forging a bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakh to allegedly secure a construction contract of the real estate project from the private developer in a Public-Private-Partnership scheme of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC). The accused, a contractor, had sought regular bail on the grounds that his wife has delivered twins on August 3 through a ceasarean section and “does not have any help at home”.

The case pertains to the construction of the controversial Agora City Centre project, which is part of the PPP model project of slum rehabilitation awarded by the VMC to M/s Manav Infrastructure. The City Centre project, which is part of the ‘commercial share’ of the 44010 sq meters plot given to Manav Infrastructure by the VMC in lieu of developing the slum rehabilitation project of 771 flats and 11 shops, has been at the centre of controversy since 2016 for an alleged encroachment wall built in the swamp of the Vishwamitri River by Manav Infrastructure as well as the development permission granted by the VMC for an excess of 2212 sq m land parcel.

In a complaint by Manav Infrastructure before the State CID, filed against Noida-resident Mohammad Israr Ahmed, whose company Ascent Construction secured a construction contract following a tender process, Manav Infrastructure has alleged that Ascent Construction provided a forged bank guarantee of Rs 50 lakh on November 8, 2019. The company also received a payment of Rs 20 lakh from the developer. When the bank guarantee was found to be forged during verification, within a few days that year, the accused did not rectify or provide a genuine bank guarantee.

While the defence counsel MK Desai argued that the FIR filed by the State CID did not name the accused or his wife — who works as an interior designer in the same company — and also fails to establish any link of the accused with the said forged bank guarantee, the District Government Pleader (DGP) Anil Desai, appearing for the police, argued that the court must consider that the sections under which the accused has been arrested provide for a punishment of life imprisonment and turn down the bail application.

DGP Desai argued, “The accused provided a forged bank guarantee in 2017. There has been a delay in filing this complaint. During this time, the accused did not provide a genuine bank guarantee. The investigation has found that the accomplice who helped forge the bank guarantee lives in Kolkata and could have a connection with the accused. The accused also willingly accepted a payment of Rs 20 lakh from Manav Infrastructure, while knowing that he had submitted a forged bank guarantee. If the accused is released on bail, he is likely to manipulate evidence.” Desai argued that the family of the accused can “look after” his wife, who has delivered twins on August 3.

The court of the Fourth Additional Sessions Judge in Vadodara Girishkumar Pasi accepted the argument of the DGP and rejected the bail application, while observing, “There has been a delay of a year and three months in filing a complaint against the accused after the bank guarantee was discovered to be forged. During this time, the accused did not take any corrective steps to rectify it. The court is inclined to accept the prosecution argument that the family of the accused can take care of the maternity needs of his wife, who has delivered twins on August 3.”

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