Special CBI court rejects bail plea of Hilal Rather in J&K Bank loan fraud case

New Delhi: A special CBI court in Jammu on Tuesday rejected the interim bail application of Hilal Rather, son of a former Jammu and Kashmir minister, an accused in the Rs 177 crore bank loan fraud case, rejecting his fears of contracting COVID-19 in custody, with the court saying that he will be at more risk if he moves out of Jail, officials said.

While rejecting the application, Special CBI judge Rajesh Sekhri noted that in the prevailing situation, the accused is more likely to contract the virus if he moves out of the jail, and his release may frustrate the purpose behind the lockdown.

Rather had moved an application before the special CBI judge, Jammu seeking interim bail after the CBI filed a charge sheet against him in the Rs 177 crore J&K Bank loan fraud case on health grounds, citing the prevailing threat of contracting coronavirus during incarceration, they said.

The CBI strongly countered his arguments submitting that Rather, son of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Abdul Rahim Rather, is more likely to contract the disease if he moves out of jail.

The Centre has announced a complete lockdown and restricted all forms of movement to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the agency said.

The agency argued that releasing Rather on bail on health ground will be against the spirit of lockdown, putting him and fellow citizens at risk, the officials said.

The CBI also said that he was discharged by PGI, Chandigarh in a stable condition and there is nothing on record to suggest that requires any special treatment or hospitalisation for any illness.

Dismissing the application, the court observed that the medical record submitted by the accused bears testimony to the effect that the petition was discharged in a stable condition.

Agreeing with the arguments of the agency and relying on Supreme Court judgement in Asaram case, the special judge rejected the interim bail application filed by Rather.

The CBI had charge sheeted Rather and others in connection with the Rs 177-crore bank fraud scam within 10 days of taking over the case.

In the charge sheet filed before the special court, Jammu, the CBI has also named the then branch heads of J&K Bank, New University Campus branch, Iqbal Singh and Arun Kapoor as accused, they said.

The CBI has alleged that Rather entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then officials of the bank to get loans of Rs 177.68 crore (approx) in violation of rules and guidelines.

“The loans that were sanctioned for construction of flats were allegedly diverted and misappropriated by the accused using the bank accounts of his employees. It was further alleged that the accused submitted forged certificates and bills to the bank,” a CBI spokesperson said here.

The allegations were denied by Rather”s family after the agency had filed an FIR in the case.

A statement issued by legal counsel of Rather had said that having failed in its primary task of holding public officials accountable, the agency (JK ACB) is trying to give a different colour to the case by resorting to canards and false accusations.

PTI

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