A court in Pune has rejected the anticipatory bail application of veteran theatre and film actor Vikram Gokhale in connection with a case of alleged cheating and fraud over a 25-year-old land development project at Mulshi. The court, however, granted him protection from arrest till October 17 so that he can approach the Bombay High Court.
In March, a criminal offence was registered against Gokhale (79) and two others, Jayant Mhalgi and his wife Sujata. Jayant is the son of late Member of Parliament Rambhau Mhalgi. The case pertains to a Project Girivan by a company named Sujata Farms, floated by Mhalgi and Sujata. Gokhale was the chairman of the company, but he has maintained that he resigned from the position in January this year.
Gokhale’s anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Madhuri M Deshpande on September 25.
Public Prosecutor Pushkar Sapre said that after the court rejected Gokhale’s plea for an anticipatory bail, the defence lawyers sought time to approach the High Court against the order. On Monday, the court granted Gokhale protection from arrest till October 17 to approach the High Court. The copies of these orders could be accessed on Tuesday.
The complainants in the case have alleged that they were cheated because the land plots they were given actual possession of are different, and in many cases smaller, than the ones purchased by them via sale deeds.
At the time of registering the offence in March, 14 persons who had purchased land plots as part of the project had approached the police. The total cost of land, as paid by them over 25 years ago, was around Rs 96 lakh, and is expected to run into crores of rupees today.
Gokhale could not be reached for comment.
In March, Gokhale had told The Indian Express, “I was the brand ambassador and chairman for the project. But I have resigned from those positions in January this year. I have never had any financial involvement in the project. I feel these are just attempts to malign the image of someone who is in the limelight.”
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