Mumbai: The Dindoshi sessions court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of a 70-year-old retired colonel and his family member in a case of criminal breach of trust registered on the report of a provident fund inspector that the duo being directors of a security firm had not deposited the PF contributions deducted from salaries of their employees between 2017 and 2021.
Colonel Satnam Maini (Retired) and Harangad Maini are directors of the security firm Agile Security Force and Systems Pvt. Ltd. The Provident Fund office had received complaints from security guards who worked for their firm and provided security to a bank, that PF contributions had got deducted from their salaries but were not deposited in the PF accounts. Between Apr 2017 and Mar 2021, the duo allegedly misappropriated an amount of over Rs 1.03 crore.
The retired Colonel and his co-accused had sought pre-arrest bail arguing that proceedings were going on before the Commissioner of Provident Fund and the inspector already drawing the conclusion of misappropriation was wrong. They also argued that an extension was given for filing returns during the pandemic.
The Oshiwara police station, where the offence is registered, had opposed relief. It told the court that the duo had not cooperated with the probe despite being sent notice. It also pointed out that the misappropriation was going on since 2017.
Additional Sessions Judge Sridhar M Bhosale considered in his order that there is prima facie material to show their involvement and though another proceeding is ongoing, it would not discard their criminal liability. The court also noted that in spite of being given notices for investigation, the duo had not responded to these. For a fair investigation, it said that it is proper to give opportunity for custodial interrogation.