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HC stays proceedings against Arun Shourie in disinvestment case

Arun Shourie. File  

The Rajasthan High Court on Thursday stayed the proceedings in a trial court against former Union Minister Arun Shourie and four others in a case registered over the disinvestment of an India Tourism Development Corporation-owned hotel in Udaipur in 2002. The special CBI court in Jodhpur had last month ordered reopening of the CBI probe into the matter.

While passing the interim direction, Justice Vijay Bishnoi at the High Court’s principal seat in Jodhpur summoned the records of the case from the special court and asked it not to proceed against the five petitioners till further orders.

Besides Mr. Shourie, others against whom the trial court had ordered registration of a new FIR were then Disinvestment Secretary Pradip Baijal, valuer Kantilal Karamsey, Bharat Hotels Director Jyotsna Suri and Lazard India Managing Director Ashish Guha.

The Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel in Udaipur was sold for ₹7.52 crore when Mr. Shourie was the Minister in charge of disinvestment in the NDA government at the Centre. During a preliminary investigation by the CBI, the property was valued at 252 crore, suggesting a loss of ₹244 crore to the exchequer. The CBI later filed a closure report in the matter.

The counsel for the five petitioners, who challenged the special CBI court’s order and arrest warrants, appeared in the High Court through video conferencing. While Mr. Shourie said the trial court had made certain observations against him without giving him a hearing, others contended that they could not be accused of being involved in a crime on the basis of the material collected by the CBI.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju said the CBI had filed closure reports twice in the matter with detailed reasons on why no offence was made out and contended that the trial court’s order was not in conformity with law. The High Court had earlier put on hold arrest warrants against all the petitioners as well as the trial court’s order to the Udaipur district administration to take over the hotel.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 10:43:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/hc-stays-proceedings-against-arun-shourie-in-disinvestment-case/article32922348.ece

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