New Delhi, March 17
The Supreme Court has stayed the Bombay High Court’s order allowing a Mumbai businesswoman accused of defrauding the State Bank of India of Rs 3,300 crore to travel to the UAE after being told that she has renounced her Indian citizenship and obtained that of the Dominican Republic.
The order came on a petition filed by SBI challenging March 10 and March 14 orders of the Bombay High Court allowing Ushdev International Limited (UIL) Chairman Suman Vijay Gupta to travel abroad.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stayed the high court’s orders on Thursday after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the law enforcement agencies have had a bad experience allowing economic offenders and fraudsters to go abroad on personal undertakings as they seldom honoured their undertakings to return home to face criminal proceedings.
“Pending further orders, there shall be a stay of the operation of the impugned orders dated March 10, 2023, and March 14, 2023,”it said, posting the matter for further hearing on March 24.
“The Solicitor General submits that the applicant, who took up the citizenship of the Dominican Republic after the declaration of her account as Non Performing Asset (NPA), has been permitted to travel by the impugned orders dated 10 March 2023 and 14 March 2023 of a Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Bombay. It has been submitted that this order was despite a contrary view which was taken on 3 July 2020 by a coordinate Division Bench of the High Court,” the top court noted in its order.
Mehta said, “She is the chairperson of a company which took a loan of Rs 3,300 crore. The CBI is investigating (the case). After the loan was declared an NPA (non-performing asset), she renounced the citizenship of India and got the citizenship of Dominican Republic.”
A look out circular was issued and she was prevented from travelling but the Bombay High Court has allowed her to travel abroad if she filed an undertaking to the effect that she will return to face legal proceedings in the case against her.
Mehta said the insolvency proceedings were initiated against UIL after the fraud was detected and the CBI later registered a case against Gupta, who relinquished her Indian citizenship and became a Commonwealth of Dominica citizen while residing in the UAE. Gupta had come to attend her nephew’s wedding and the LOC was issued in 2020, he said.
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