The Delhi High Court recently granted regular bail to former chief managing director (CMD) of Amrapali Group Anil Kumar Sharma in a case of allegedly cheating homebuyers.
A single-judge bench of Justice Vikas Mahajan in its September 1 order said that even though allegations against Sharma are serious, he has undergone “one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified” for Section 420 IPC (cheating) which he has been charged with.
“I am of the view that the petitioner is entitled to the benefit of Section 436A CrPC which has been held to be a mandatory provision by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The allegation against the petitioner may be serious, but they do not warrant the invocation of an exception carved in the first proviso to Section 436A CrPC to continue the detention of the petitioner for a period longer than one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for Section 420 IPC, when notably it is not a case of the prosecution that the petitioner has in any way been responsible for the delay of trial,” Justice Mahajan said.
Section 436A Code of Criminal Procedure states that when a person has, during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial of an offence under any law (except those which are punished with death penalty specified as one of the punishments under that law) undergone detention for a period extending up to one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence under that law, he shall be released by the Court on his personal bond with or without sureties. The imprisonment under Section 420IPC can extend up to seven years.
The order notes that an FIR was registered by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police on the complaint of one Anubhav Jain (complainant) who had bought 26 flats in Tower G-1 of Sharma’s companies project ‘Amrapali Silicon City’ proposed to be developed in Sector 76, Noida.
During the course of the investigation, it was found that Tower G-1 in this project was never sanctioned by the Noida Authority and in furtherance of criminal conspiracy, Sharma allegedly sold/allotted 26 flats to the complainant in the said tower and after “being induced by the accused persons”, the complainant agreed to invest in this project and he made full and final payment of Rs 6.60 crore against the said flats in November 2011.
Subsequently, on February 28, 2019, Sharma along with two other co-accused– Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar – were arrested in the case.
Perusing the chargesheet filed in the case, the HC noted that as many as 50 witnesses have been cited by the prosecution in this case and it is going to be a long trial. No useful purpose will be served in keeping the petitioner in judicial custody, the High Court concluded.
The HC thereafter granted bail to Sharma subject to him furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two surety bonds of the same amount subject to certain conditions.