Laxmi Vilas hotel case: Arun Shourie appears before special CBI court in Jodhpur, furnishes Rs 2 lakh bond

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By: Express News Service | Jaipur | October 14, 2020 5:55:13 pm

 ‘Focus on what can be done now — to improve governance, the life of people’Arun Shourie, was the minister in charge of divestment when the property, owned by the public sector India Tourism Development Corporation, was sold to Bharat Hotels Ltd, a private company.

Former Union Minister Arun Shourie Wednesday appeared before a special CBI court in Jodhpur and furnished personal bonds in compliance of a September 23 order of the Rajasthan High Court pertaining to the sale of Laxmi Vilas Palace Hotel, Udaipur in 2002.

In the order, the court had granted interim relief from arrest to Shourie and had asked him to appear before the CBI court by October 15 and furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties of Rs 1 lakh each.

“Mr Shourie appeared before the special CBI court in Jodhpur today. In compliance of the order passed by the High Court on an earlier date, Mr Shourie has filed personal bonds and sureties for his appearance if any to be fixed by the trial court,” Shourie’s counsel Pradeep Shah told The Indian Express.

Speaking to reporters in Jodhpur, Shourie on Wednesday said that both the CBI in its closure report as well as an earlier judgment of a division bench of the Rajasthan HC had concluded saying that there were no procedural violations in the sale of the hotel.

“The CBI has filed two closure reports. There is a judgment of the Rajasthan High Court by a division bench of two judges that there hasn’t been any procedural violations or undervaluation. This (the case) started once again in 2014 with an anonymous complaint and since then the CBI has said twice in its closure report that there is no case, mentioning 14 points as reasons of why no case can be made out,” Shourie said.

“We had adopted a very strict procedure under the monitoring of Atal ji. It was the direction of Atal ji that everything will be in an Inter-Ministerial committee, then will go to the Committee of Secretary headed by the cabinet secretary and then to the Cabinet Committee on Disinvestment, presided by the Prime Minister himself,” he told reporters.

Shourie further added saying that along with him, the members of the committee included then ministers LK Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Jaitley among others. He also said that he had to come to Jodhpur to appear before the court despite his poor health conditions and leave behind his wife and son, who are dependent on him.

On September 15, the Special CBI court in Jodhpur had ordered of a criminal case to be registered against Shourie, who was the Union disinvestment minister at the time of the sale of the hotel; Pradip Baijal, the Secretary of the department then; Ashish Guha, belonging to financial advisory firm Lzard India Ltd; Bharat Hotels Managing Director Jyotsna Suri; and Kantilal Karamsey Vikamsey, proprietor of valuer Kanti Karamsey and Co. The court had also summoned all of them via arrest warrants.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government was in power at the Centre at the time of the disinvestment. The CBI had concluded in its closure report submitted to the court that evidence worth launching prosecution had not been found in the entire process of disinvestment of the hotel.

The case is scheduled to be heard by the Rajasthan High Court on tomorrow.

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