The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to BJP leader Kirit Somaiya and his son in a case of alleged misappropriation of public money collected for the restoration of the decommissioned naval aircraft carrier Vikrant.
A single bench of Justice Bharati Dangre allowed the plea of Somaiyas for anticipatory bail in the case and made "absolute" the interim protection from arrest granted by the High Court to them on April 13 this year.
An FIR was registered against the BJP leader and his son Neil Somaiya on April 6 at the Trombay police station in Mumbai following a complaint by an ex-Army person, who claimed that former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya had collected Rs 57 crore from the public in 2013 for restoration of Vikrant.
The money was, however, never put to use or deposited with the Governor's office, as per the initial plan, the complaint stated.
On Wednesday, senior counsel Shirish Gupte, who appeared for the prosecution, told the High Court that the city police did not require Mr Somaiya and his son's immediate custody.
Advocate Ashok Mundargi, who appeared for the Somaiyas, denied all allegations and told the high court that this was a highly "politicised matter." Justice Dangre also noted that the allegations against the BJP leader and his son were "unsubstantiated."
"The allegation (against the duo) is of misappropriation of funds. Though the complaint alleged that a whopping sum of Rs 57 crore was collected, there was no evidence of misappropriation," the High Court said while allowing the anticipatory bail plea.
"Specific statements (of the police) and the investigation do not lead to such an inference (of misappropriation)," the high court said.
The court also noted that the police had served a notice to Kirit Somaiya and his son under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code, asking them to appear for questioning.
It directed them to abide by the terms of the notice and report to the police station concerned for questioning on August 17.
"The specific order granting interim protection is made absolute," the High Court said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)