A Mumbai court has acquitted nine people, including Ashwin Mehta, brother of 1992 securities scam kingpin Harshad Mehta, during a case of duping the depository financial organization of India (SBI) to the tune of ₹105 crore.
Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, who presides over the special court acknowledged for cases associated with the 1992 securities scam, said in her judgment that there was no hesitation in holding that that the prosecution had didn’t prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Ashwin Mehta was a constituted attorney of Harshad Mehta and also one among the stockbrokers in his brother’s firms.
Apart from Ashwin Mehta, those acquitted are Rama Sitharaman, officer in-charge of securities division of the SBI, and 7 other officials — Bhushan Raut, C Ravi Kumar, S Suresh Babu, P Muralidharan, Ashok Agarwal, Janardhan Bandhopadhyay and Shyam Sundar Gupta.
According to the prosecution, the bank’s officials in collusion with the Mehta brothers entered into a conspiracy to cheat SBI Caps, the investment-banking branch of the country’s largest lender, to the tune of ₹105 crore within the sale and buy transactions of securities from 1991 to 1992
The CBI, which was looking into the case, stated that there are around 24 suspected transactions. The cash was debited from the account of SBI Caps at the bank’s Mumbai branch, which is SBI’s main branch cash was alleged to be used for the acquisition of shares, but there’s no receipts or physical securities accredited to the account.
According to the prosecution, the bank’s officials in collusion with the Mehta brothers entered into a conspiracy to cheat SBI Caps, the investment-banking branch of the country’s largest lender, to the tune of ₹105 crore within the sale and buy transactions of securities from 1991 to 1992.
SBI Caps routed all 24 transactions via Harshad Mehta and allegedly suffered a loss, consistent with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for the prosecuting.
The case against prime accused Harshad Mehta was ‘abated’ after he died in 2001. The CBI claimed the fund diversion couldn’t have taken place without the knowledge of the accused bank officers.
The court, however, accepted the defence arguments that the funds were diverted from the foremost branch of the bank and hence, the case against the accused officers, who were within the securities division, couldn’t be accepted.
“In light of the various gaps and missing links left open by the prosecution, could even get on account of death of Harshad Mehta and thus the discharge of the various accused within the case from time to time, the actual fact remains that the charge of conspiracy couldn’t be proved,” the court said.
The court also noted that there was a serious lacuna within the sanction given to prosecute the officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI allegedly stated that there are many irregularities from Mumbai branch of the SBI has unauthorized credited funds into the account of the late Harshad Mehta.