Justice Badar's sudden change of ringtone
Mumbai, 14th October, 2017: There was astonishment at the high court hearing of Bhagtani builders' anticipatory bail application no. 1533, because Justice A M Badar seemed to suddenly forget the previous orders passed on 29th September and, crucially, the one passed on 3rd October! The main point of the last order was, "Statement made in affidavit of applicant Diipesh regarding depositing of Rs. 22 Crores is accepted as provisional payment which shall take care of interest of investors. In addition thereto, the applicants are directed to submit list of all persons who booked apartment in the incomplete project ''Bhagtani Riyo''. The list to show the amount deposited by each investors as well as the amount payable to each investor considering the rate of interest at 15% or agreed rate of interest per annum as on the date of submission of list. The list alongwith affidavit of the applicant be tendered on 12th October 2017."
On 12th October, Aila, ringtone badal gaya!!! Justice Badar showed no inclination to enforce the affidavit! The judge was perfectly chilled that Bhagtani neither furnished a list of Bhagtani Riyo investors, nor paid one-sixth of of Rs 22 crore as promised. He accepted, without any scrutiny, Bhagtani's averment that most Bhagtani Riyo flat-buyers had already been repaid! The order notes, "The learned Advocate appearing for the applicants reported that total 1088 individuals have booked apartments in the schemes floated by applicants. As on date he has refunded entire amount due to 658 persons. 255 persons are partly paid whereas, nothing is paid to remaining 175 persons." Please ask for proof of such tall claims, Milord!!
The order then goes on to say benignly, "The learned advocate appearing for the applicants on instructions is stating that the applicants are managing the funds and are in a process of refunding the amount to all persons, who are yet to be paid or partly paid. He shown willingness to report further developments to this Court immediately on reopening of the Court."
The only silver lining is the travel restrictions imposed on the Bhagtanis, effective until the next hearing date, i.e. 1st November, 2017. The order states: "If applicants desires to go to some foreign country in the meanwhile, they should seek permission of this Court." Please note, unless these restrictions are expressly sought again by the counsels of Bhagtani victims on 1st November, and unless his Lordship sees fit to grant their prayers, these travel restrictions will lapse.
Read the order of 12th October uploaded last evening.
ISSUED IN PUBLIC INTEREST BY