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Kirit Somaiya’s INS Vikrant case: Donations made with trust, hope; money not utilized for purpose

The Somaiyas had claimed that they had only collected a little over Rs. 11,000. The court said that even if it is assumed that the said sum was collected, Kirit Somaiya was duty-bound to deposit the amount with the Governor of Maharashtra or the state.

Bhavna Uchil | Updated on: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:34 PM IST

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya | File Photo
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya | File Photo
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While denying relief to BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son and corporator Neil Somaiya in a fund misappropriation case concerning warship INS Vikrant, a sessions court has said that donations were made by the public with a lot of trust and hope, but it was not used for the purpose.

The complainant, a retired army man, had alleged that the Somaiyas had collected Rs. 57 crores in a donation drive they conducted in 2014 to save the warship from being scrapped, but the money had not reached the government. In separate orders but similar observations, the court said, “The donations were made with a lot of trust and hope that ultimately the money could save INS Vikrant, but the amount was not used for the purpose,” The detailed orders made available on Wednesday.

The former MP had claimed through his advocate while seeking anticipatory bail that the FIR was registered with ulterior motives with the interference of some politicians from the ruling parties of the state. Additional Sessions Judge RN Rokade said regarding this argument that by merely pleading malafides, he cannot escape from liability. “There is material on record to prima facie indicate the complicity and involvement of the applicant,” the court stated. It also pointed out in another part of the order that no account was maintained in respect of the donations collected.

The Somaiyas had claimed that they had only collected a little over Rs. 11,000. The court said that even if it is assumed that the said sum was collected, Kirit Somaiya was duty-bound to deposit the amount with the Governor of Maharashtra or the state.

Judge Rokade’s order stated that there are serious allegations of misappropriation of huge amounts received by them through various donors. The court added that donations were collected in the name of INS Vikrant by taking advantage of the sentiments of the public. The manner in which they had dealt with public funds needs to be investigated, it said.

About the senior Somaiya, it said that he is a former member of parliament and senior leader of a political party. About Neil, it noted that he is a corporator. Therefore, the apprehension of the prosecution of tampering with evidence cannot be ruled out.

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Published on: Wednesday, April 13, 2022, 08:35 PM IST