A CBI special court on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail plea of a navy captain booked last month along with two other navy officers in a cheating case which caused a loss of Rs. 6.76 crore to the exchequer.
After the court refused to grant him protection from arrest, Captain Atul Kulkarni applied for interim protection till he filed an appeal before the High Court. This too was rejected by the special court.
Captain Kulkarni in his plea had told the court that the fake bills had been generated by misusing his ID and password by petty officer Kuldeep Singh Baghel. He had shared the credentials with Baghel in good confidence, he had said. Baghel is one of the navy officers also accused in the case.
Special Public Prosecutor PKB Gaikwad for the CBI had argued against his plea stating that if the contention is true that the misuse of their ID and password took place, they should not have shared those firstly. Opposing Captain Kulkarni’s plea, he argued that all the navy officers were in connivance and that Kulkarni being the budget-approving authority should have checked and detected such fake bills and not approved them. The agency also pointed out that the officers have destroyed physical as well as soft copies of the fake bills, hence destroying evidence in the case.
A CBI court has granted pre-arrest bail to Commander Mandar Godbole, also an accused in the case. Kulkarni and a navy commander RP Sharma had sought anticipatory bail citing parity with Godbole too.
The CBI had in July-end registered an FIR against Captain Atul Kulkarni, Commanders RP Sharma, Mandar Godbole and Petty Officer Kuldip Baghel along with 14 others. The agency had stated in its complaint that between January and March 2016, the four navy officers had raised fake and forged bills of IT hardware supplies to the Western Naval Command. None of the supplies had reached the headquarters. Among other accused are five persons from the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Navy) - a department responsible for auditing the bills while some are private individuals and companies.