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Former Lilavati Hospital trustee arrested, let off hours later

Warrant was issued against diamond merchant Kishor Mehta in an alleged case of foreign exchange violation

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | November 27, 2014 4:25:16 am

Former Lilavati Hospital trustee and diamond merchant Kishor Mehta was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after a non-bailable warrant was issued on Wednesday against him for non-appearance in an alleged case of foreign exchange violation in 2002. He was, however, granted bail on Wednesday itself.

Mehta was picked up from his Malabar Hill apartment at 7 am. He was produced before an Esplanade Court, which initially remanded him to judicial custody. He was later granted bail till November 29 on a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh on the condition that he remains present whenever the ED summons him.

The ED claimed that Mehta had not appeared after it issued summons to him for the investigation in a case that dates back to 2002.
According to the agency, Mehta’s companies Beautiful Diamonds and Crystal Gems had not cleared export proceedings of diamonds to the tune of 20 million dollars which were exported in the late 1990s. During its investigation a decade ago, however, the Mehta was found untraceable when summons were sent to him, the ED had claimed.

Mehta’s lawyer Abad Ponda, however, told the court that his client had appeared before court in 2010 when the two cases were being decided. While he was acquitted in one case, he was penalised in the other one. The ED claimed that Mehta has not furnished the fine till now.

He further argued that it was not Mehta who was summoned, but one Murrad Lakdawala from Bandra while Mehta was staying in Opera House. “There is something more than what meets the eye for having issued the warrant 12 years late,” Ponda said while seeking bail. Interestingly, the case numbers of Lakdawala and Mehta bear the same.

Ponda also said that his 77-year-old client is suffering from heart ailments and spondilitis.

Mehta’s son, Rajesh blamed his relatives for the arrest of his father. Rajesh claimed that his uncle was misusing the government machinery, that is the ED. Mehta and his brother Vijay are involved in a legal fight along with their families over the hospital trusteeship. The trusteeship issue is being heard by the Charity Commissioner.

“He (Mehta) was to depose before the Charity Commissioner next week and to keep him from doing so my relatives conspired to get him arrested by approaching the ED with this complaint,” Rajesh said.

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