March 4, 2021 6:08:15 am
The arrest of an Interim Resolution Professional appointed by the Supreme Court in a case concerning the debt-ridden Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL) by the Uttar Pradesh Police had the court fuming and ordering his immediate release.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, which said it was “appalled to see” what had happened, also issued show cause notice to the investigating officer “as to why appropriate action is not taken against him for taking such drastic action against the applicant”, and asked him to “file his personal affidavit explaining the position within two weeks”.
The bench, also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheswari, was hearing an application by the IRP Anuj Jain, appointed under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and entrusted with the functioning of the ailing company till the resolution process to resurrect it is decided.
Jain was picked up from Mumbai on Monday by the Greater Noida Police in connection with an FIR which alleged that JIL, which operates the 165-km Yamuna Expressway, and Jain have not taken safety measures suggested by the IIT in its safety audit conducted in 2018 to reduce road accidents. The FIR was in connection with an accident on the Expressway on February 23.
“We are appalled to see that the manner in which the Uttar Pradesh Police has handled this case…registered at Police Station Beta-II in District Greater Noida, including to take the extreme step to arrest the Interim Resolution Professional…the police official dealing with the case is not familiar with the provision of privilege of interim resolution appointed by the Court, in terms of Section 233 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.”
The UP government counsel told the court that the investigating officer “was of the view that the applicant may leave India at any time to avoid the prosecution and for securing his presence thought it necessary to arrest him from Mumbai”.
The bench said it “will examine this aspect of the matter elaborately at appropriate time by treating this application as substantive writ petition filed by the applicant under Article 32 of the Constitution of India”.
Ordering Jain’s “immediate” release, it also asked the police “not to take any coercive action against the applicant in connection with the subject FIR until further orders”.
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