Kirit Somaiya moves Mumbai High Court for pre-arrest bail in INS Vikrant fund scam

Published on : 10:58 PM Apr 12, 2022

Somaiya claimed that similar donations had also been collected by other political parties including Shiv Sena and Congress, while the drive was not conducted by him in an individual capacity but at the party level. Stating that there was prima facie proof, Special court bench headed by Judge R K Rokade, had rejected Somaiya's anticipatory bail on Monday.

Mumbai: BJP leader Kirit Somaiya on Tuesday moved the Mumbai High Court challenging the decision of the sessions court denying him an anticipatory bail in the scam involving funds collected to avoid the dismantling of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in 2014. In the bail plea submitted to the High Court through his counsel Niranjan Mundargi, Somaiya claimed that similar donations had also been collected by other political parties including Shiv Sena and Congress, while the drive was not conducted by him in an individual capacity but at the party level. He also highlighted that the complaint was delayed and filed after nine years.

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Stating that there was prima facie proof including photographs, showing that funds were collected for the restoration of INS Vikrant, Special court bench headed by Judge R K Rokade, rejected Somaiya's anticipatory bail on Monday. The court had pointed out a letter saying that Somaiya was going to deposit the money with the (Maharashtra) governor, though it was found not deposited. As per the high court's website, Somaiya's plea is likely to be heard on April 19, while both Kirit aand Neil Somaiya have been asked to be present at the court on April 13.

The matter came to light after an ex-Army man lodged an FIR at the Trombay police station claiming that a donation drive was started by Somaiya in 2013 to prevent the decommissioned warship from being dismantled and scrapped. The complaint further said that Somaiya, along with his son Neil Somaiya, and a few others had collected funds by setting up donation boxes at various locations in Mumbai. The complainant himself claimed to have donated Rs 2,000 for the cause, but, in 2014, he learnt that the warship had been scrapped and auctioned to a company for Rs 60 crore. The Somaiyas have been framed for alleged misappropriation of over Rs 57 crore funds collected to save the decommissioned aircraft carrier through this fund collection campaign. Advertisement

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INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, was commissioned in 1961 and had played a crucial role during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. It was D Decommissioned in 1997, the ship was sold through an online auction in January 2014 and was scrapped in November the same year.

Also read: INS Vikrant case: Kirit Somaiya deposited money with BJP, claims Sanjay Raut

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