The Supreme Court rejected on Monday an application seeking extension of the anticipatory bail for Shirish Kulkarni, son of developer DS Kulkarni, in connection with an alleged cheating case worth Rs 2,043-crore. D S Kulkarni was arrested on allegations of cheating thousands of depositors through investment schemes.
An SC bench comprising Justice S Abdul Nazeer and Justice Indu Malhotra has, however, granted a week’s time to Shirish Kulkarni to surrender before the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Pune City Police. Last week, Shirish Kulkarni had moved the Bombay High Court seeking extension in the interim relief from arrest.
Shirish had pleaded that ad-interim relief granted to him since February be extended for a period of one week, enabling him to approach the SC. But, High Court Justice Sadhana Jadhav had rejected the application. The court order had stated that “application stands protected till 5 pm on June 18, 2018 and then the applicant shall report to the EOW of the Pune City Police every day between 10.30 am and 1 pm, and mark his presence”.
Following a complaint lodged by a depositor, Jitendra Narayan Mulekar (65) of Kothrud, an FIR was lodged against DSK and his wife Hemanti at the Shivajinagar Police Station on October 28 under sections 406, 420, 409, 120 (b) and 34 of the Indian Penal Code; and sections of the Maharashtra Protection Of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act and the Prize Chit and Money Circulation Banning Act.
Another FIR was lodged at the same police station against DSK and four directors of his company for alleged misappropriation of money by not depositing the employee provident fund (PF). One more FIR was lodged against DSK and five others for allegedly cheating one Santosh Honkarpe (39) by not giving him possession of the two flats he had booked under their housing scheme. Honkarpe claims to have paid Rs 90.29 lakh in advance for the possession.
After a series of hearings on the anticipatory bail of the couple and failed promises by the group to deposit certain amount, the couple was arrested from a hotel in Delhi on February 17. The two are currently lodged in Yerawada jail.
The special investigation team (SIT) probing the case had arrested four more persons — Vinaykumar Raghvendra Badgandi, who had worked in the finance department of DSK group, and Kedar Wanjpe, Sai Wanjpe and Dhananjay Pachpor, who are relatives of D S Kulkarni. Role of six more suspects in the case is being probed.
On May 17, the SIT had filed a 36,875-page chargesheet against builder DSK and his wife Hemanti. Police said, since 2010, the couple had lured people into investing into the schemes launched by the D S Kulkarni Developers Limited (DSKDL) company and its eight more partnership firms on assurances of attractive returns with 10.5 per cent to 12.6 per cent interest per year. Later, these deposits were allegedly diverted into the accounts of family members of DSK and then again diverted into accounts of DSK, Hemanti, their son Shirish and others and siphoned off, said police.
As per the submissions made by the prosecution before the High Court, Shirish had allegedly “purchased chunk of land at Takve by utilising funds of D S Kulkarni Developers Private Limited where there were several investors. The funds were transferred initially in the personal account of Hemanti and thereafter she had transferred Rs 3,420 lakh (Rs 34.2 crore) to Shirish’s account maintained with Bank of Maharashtra, Bajirao Road, Pune.”
“It was also disclosed that more than 50 to 55 companies were floated by DSKDL Private Limited. The applicant continued to be the director of DSK Global Education and Research Limited, Tricone Intracon Limited, Chandra Deep Promoters and Developers Private Limited, Holy Land Agro Forestry Private Limited, Growrich Agro Forestry Private Limited, DSK Digital Technology Private Limited, Vastu Visharad Promoters and Developers Private Limited etc. It is apparent that the investors were lured to deposit in one firm or the other as they were made to believe that they would get lucrative returns… Learned Special Prosecutor submits that it is not possible to recover the amount since all the properties are mortgaged with the banks who would have the first lien on the said properties. It is also submitted that custodial interrogation is imperative in the present case, since it would throw light upon the modus operandi of the firm in siphoning of the funds and other material could be extracted from the present applicant,” the court order had stated.
Police had also told the court that separate offences were lodged against Shirish at Mumbai, Kolhapur, Solapur and Pune. Meanwhile, in the two press conferences held in Pune before his arrest, Kulkarni had denied all the charges leveled against him by the police.
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