Mumbai: HC refuses to transfer trials of 9 criminal cases in Rs 150-cr bank scam

The Bombay high court on Monday refused to transfer nine criminal trials from various districts to Mumbai in connection with the Rs 150-crore scam that took place in Nagpur District Central Cooperative Bank (NDCCB) in 2000. The court said that all the cases will be tried by the concerned district courts.

While three criminal cases of conspiracy, fraud and cheating are registered in Mumbai, two cases were reported from Pune and one each at Nagpur, Osmanabad, Wardha and Amravati.

A bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Madhav Jamdar was dealing with a bunch of petitions filed by broker Sanjay Agrawal, the chief executive officer of M/s Home Trade Ltd, that was engaged in the business of stock and securities, brokering and trading. The company was listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE), Bombay Stock Exchange of India (BSE) and Pune Stock Exchange (PSE).

The entire scam pertains to the transactions that have taken place in Mumbai wherein securities of the government were offered, sold and purchased.

Agrawal’s advocate Niteen Pradhan pointed out that certain contract notes were executed and issued by his client’s company as a member of NSE in Mumbai. “The money transactions have also taken place in Mumbai. The consideration amount of the District Co-operative Banks from Wardha, Nagpur, Amravati, Osmanabad, Mumbai and Pune were paid and received in Mumbai. All securities transactions were routed through existing bank accounts of these District Co-operative Banks at the Maharashtra State Central Co-operative Bank, Fort branch,” Pradhan said.

However, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni submitted that all the trials will have to be held in the concerned district courts as they are competent and also have the jurisdictions to try the matters.

Referring to various provisions of law and the judgments of various high courts and also the Supreme Court, the judges held that the concerned district courts will be competent to try the cases before them.

“It is clear that the issue regarding jurisdiction can be raised before the magistrate who is trying the offence. If the issue of jurisdiction is raised, the magistrate, after taking into consideration the evidence led in the respective criminal cases, is duty bound to decide on the said issue,” the bench said.

“In fact, transferring the cases will cause inconvenience to the parties and witnesses. Taking overall view of the matter transferring trial of all these criminal cases will not be in the interest of justice,” it said.

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