A sessions court has rejected the anticipatory bail application of BJP leader Kirit Somaiya’s son and former corporator Neil Somaiya in a cheating case regarding misappropriation of funds they collected in 2014 to save warship INS Vikrant from being scrapped.
The complainant, a retired armyman, who too had contributed for the cause, had alleged that Rs. 57 crores had been collected by the duo, but they had not given the collection to the government to restore the warship into a museum, as claimed by them during collections. He said he complained after all these years because he realised about it late.
Neil had sought relief and claimed that he was falsely implicated and that only a token amount of Rs. 11,000 had been collected from people for awareness of the issue.
Special Public Prosecutor Pradeep Gharat had opposed the plea and argued that drives were conducted in various places in the city and huge amounts were collected.
He further told court that Somaiyas collected money of Rs 57 crore and more to save INS Vikrant from being scrapped, but did not deposit it to the governor's office. This shows, he said, that they cheated people who donated money for the warship. The court was further told that no permission was taken from a concerned authority nor was any receipt given of the money collected. Money was collected in donation boxes deliberately to avoid proof of the amount collected, the prosecution added.
INS Vikrant has significance as a warship and the accused used its name to collect funds, the court was told. The police said they need to probe how the money was used. The prosecution further told the court that Kirit Somaiya had said on his own Twitter regarding collection of Rs 140 crore. It also said that tampering with the probe may be possible, as well as pressuring the complainant, as the accused is a former public representative. A detailed order is yet to be made available.