The Bombay High Court on Tuesday permitted fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi's brother-in-law Maiank Mehta to travel to Hong Kong (HK) for three months.
Justice PD Naik dismissed the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) challenging the order of special court trying cases under the Prevention Of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) permitting Mehta to travel to HK.
The court will give a detailed order later.
However, on request from CBI counsel Raja Thakare, the HC has stayed the order for 2 weeks to permit the central agency to file an appeal.
Thakare had sought stay on the order for 4 weeks.
However, Mehta’s counsel Amit Desai opposed the request saying that in the last one month, the CBI had called him for questioning only once. “This shows that my presence is not required,” said Desai.
Desai submitted that the special court had orally permitted Mehta to travel to UK too where his children are residing. However, the court said that it will only go by the written order and refused to entertain the request.
The special PMLA court had permitted Mehta to travel to HK for three months to complete personal work as he has been in India since September 2021.
Mehta is a British citizen and lives in HK. His wife, Purvi, a Belgian citizen, has not come to India. However, she and Mehta were made approver by the ED after they agreed to provide information they have regarding Modi. The special court has, hence, granted them pardon.
CBI approached HC challenging permission to travel to HK. Thakare, counsel for the CBI, had argued that the investigating agency has always looked at Mehta as an accused. Unless the investigation is completed, the CBI cannot make a statement whether he will be made an approver in the case.
Mehta has filed a petition before a division bench of HC seeking that the pardon granted to him in ED case be extended in the CBI case as well. That is likely to come up for hearing next week.