The Supreme Court Thursday directed that a businessman, who is in custody in connection with the alleged Rs 3,500 crore Bike Bot scam, be released on bail and asked him to deposit Rs 10 crore as a "pre-condition" for the relief.
The top court noted that the Allahabad High Court had in June this year directed the release of businessman Dinesh Pandey on bail after recording a clear finding that he was not named in the FIR and that he wasn't a director, office bearer or manager of the private firm which had launched the Bike Bot scheme which allegedly defrauded lakhs.
Dinesh Pandey's counsel said he has not been released as the police kept coming up with new FIRs that had not been disclosed to him earlier.
The Uttar Pradesh police had earlier said that a Noida-registered company had in 2018 hatched a multi-level marketing scheme 'Bike Bot' and lured investors with the promise of doubled returns in a year.
While granting interim relief to Mr Pandey, a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar said that the businessman will have to abide by the terms and conditions imposed upon him by the high court that granted him bail.
"Accordingly, for the reasons mentioned in the order dated July 6, 2021 of this court... we direct the respondents (state of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi) to release the petitioner on bail forthwith on the terms and conditions specified in the bail order passed by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in respect of the concerned cases and for that matter even future cases to be registered, which shall be done only after taking prior permission of this court," said the bench, also comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar.
"The petitioner shall abide by the terms and conditions stated by the high court. In addition, he shall deposit a sum of Rs 10 crores in the registry of this court which may remain invested in a Fixed Deposit Receipt with a nationalized bank, until further orders. That will be pre-condition for grant of bail," the bench said in its order.
During the arguments, Mr Pandey's counsel told the bench that his client was arrested in November 2020 and the high court had granted him bail this June.
The state has not challenged the high court order granting bail, the counsel said, adding that the police came up with new FIRs that were not disclosed to his client earlier.
The lawyer appearing for the state said there are several investors who have been defrauded by the scheme and there is a series of complaints.
"You should have advised the state to challenge the high court order," the bench observed.
Mr Pandey's lawyer said his client has nothing to do with the Bike Bot scheme and the allegations that money collected from the investors were diverted into the account of his company.
"Even in the present case, it is noticed that multiple FIRs/complaints have been filed and in respect of which the petitioner is being taken into custody in succession," the bench said.
It said in case the state intends to proceed against the petitioner in connection with any other independent offence concerning the subject project, it must take prior permission of the top court.
The bench said the petitioner will have to fully cooperate with further investigation, as and when called upon by the investigating officer.
The bench said that it will hear the applications filed in the matter on October 1.