New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Supreme Court said on Tuesday it will hear on January 31 the CBI's plea challenging the Bombay High Court order allowing Mainak Mehta, the brother-in-law of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is an accused in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, to visit Hong Kong.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and JB Pardiwala was informed by senior advocate Amit Desai, who appeared for Mehta, that the letters rogatory (LR) to a Singapore court for obtaining evidence against Mehta have been issued.
Desai said Mehta wanted to travel abroad.
“The letters rogatory (LR) have been issued as directed by this court. The matter pertained to my travel permission,” Desai said.
The bench said Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the CBI, had to come back to it with the details of steps taken for issuance of the LRs.
“We will keep it on next Tuesday (January 31),” the bench said.
Earlier, on December 2 last year, he ASG, appearing for the central probe agency, had said about the Union home ministry having granted it the sanction to move the special CBI court in Mumbai for issuance of LR to a Singapore court for obtaining evidence against Mehta.
Letters Rogatory is a document making a request through a foreign court to obtain evidence from a person living under the territorial jurisdiction of the requested court within the ambit of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and on the basis of reciprocity if no such treaty exists.
The CBI, through its Director, Banking Securities Fraud Branch, Mumbai, has challenged in the apex court the August 23, 2022 order of the Bombay High Court which had allowed Mehta to travel to Hong Kong and stay there for three months.
The CBI has been alleging Mehta received a large sum of money siphoned off in the PNB fraud which was transferred to his wife's bank account.
The counsel for Mehta had claimed he was cooperating with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and was made an approver in the money laundering case involving Modi, but he was being harassed by the CBI.
The CBI had, on the other hand, said Mehta is related to Neerav Modi, an accused in the multi-crore rupees Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, and he has not cooperated fully in the probe.
The CBI had flagged issues with regard to non-disclosure by Mehta of transactions in bank accounts, including the one based in Singapore, and two transactions of USD 8.9 million and USD 1.8 million transferred by Modi's father.
The probe agency had said Mehta should share the details with it after which he might be considered for travelling abroad.
The CBI has submitted that Mehta, a British citizen, has given certain details but not made full disclosure with regard to the said bank accounts and there is apprehension that he may not return to India if allowed to travel abroad.
It has alleged an amount of USD 30 million was sent by Modi, which was diverted by Mehta, and said it needs to know the details.
On August 23, 2022 the Bombay High Court had dismissed the CBI's plea against an order of a special court dealing with cases lodged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) that allowed Mehta to travel to Hong Kong. The CBI wanted the PMLA court's order to be stayed.
The CBI had submitted in the high court that Mehta was not named as an accused in the case and his role in the PNB scam was yet to be ascertained for which he needed to be interrogated. PTI SJK SJK SK SK