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Court dismisses bail plea of Appu Ghar promoters

August 28, 2019 06:26 AM

COURTESY HT AUG 28

Hitender Rao hrao@hindustantimes.com ■
Court dismisses bail plea of Appu Ghar promoters
CHANDIGARH: With a Gurugram court dismissing a pre-arrest bail petition of the influential promoters of controversial amusement park, Appu Ghar, the investigations into the 2018 case pertaining to siphoning of investors’ money might just get on course. The accused, including one Rakesh Babbar, son of former Delhi BJP MLA OP Babbar, have refused to join the investigations despite several notices, the court said. A vigilance inquiry into irregularities in the allotment of land to promoters of Appu Ghar ordered by the BJP government in 2015 started dragging its feet once Babbar stepped in as a project promoter in 2016.

“The extraordinary relief of pre-arrest bail is granted only in cases of false implication or where custodial interrogation is not required. Custodial interrogation and detailed investigation is required in the present case. Accordingly, the applications for pre-arrest of all the three accused, Robin Vijeshwar, Monny Vijeshwar and Gian Vijeshwar are hereby dismissed,’’ said the August 20 order of Gurugram Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Prashant Rana.

“As per the prosecution, despite notices by the investigating officers, none of the directors has joined investigation since September 17, 2018, when the FIR was registered,’’ the court said.

On the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court, a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust was registered by the Gurugram Police in 2018 against an influential Delhi-based businessman Rakesh Babbar, Gian Vijeshwar and other directors of M/s International Recreation and Amusement Limited (IRAL), the promoters of Appu Ghar amusement park in Sector 29.

Rakesh Babbar is the son of former Delhi BJP MLA, OP Babbar. The high court had last year ordered that Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Gurugram will monitor the investigations in the case. It had also directed the Gurugram Commissioner of Police to submit a status report before the CJM.

The FIR said that the accused had cheated and indulged in criminal breach of trust with the complainant and other investors, thus depriving them of their hard-earned money. It said that the directors have more than 17 private and limited companies and they collected about ₹400 crore from investors and transferred it to the account of other companies.

A perusal of various Memorandums of Understanding and licence agreements with the investors executed between 2011 and 2014 has revealed that the investors were to be given an assured monthly return of about ₹50,000. Allegedly, around 1,200 such agreements were entered into by the accused and around ₹400 crore were received in IRAL’s account to construct an amusement park, a retail mall, a family entertainment centre and a multi-level parking. However, out of the four, only the amusement park is functional.

The court by Gurugram Additional Sessions Judge, in its order, said the projects were not completed on account of siphoning of IRAL capital. Despite the fact that forensic audit has been done by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the investigating agency in the present case cannot be constrained to investigate on the basis of the said set of documents provided by the NCLT.

“Detailed investigation and interrogation is required in the present case in regard to the above said amount of ₹400 crore, its illegal siphoning to other accounts or foreign country accounts, the resultant non-completion of the projects, the persons who were involved in the same, the misappropriation, its extent and its actual beneficiaries and the status and location of the missing ₹201 crore of investors,’’ the court said

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