New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked NRI businessman and Vectra chief Ravinder Rishi to approach the trial court for “appropriate relief” on his plea to quash the look-out notice issued by the CBI for alleged irregularities in supply of Tatra trucks to BEML.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar passed the order while dealing with Rishi’s petition challenging the issuance of look-out notice and also seeking permission to travel abroad for his medical treatment.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Rishi, claimed despite and after registration of the FIR by the CBI for alleged irregularities in supply of the truck, the BEML on 30 May had issued fresh orders to the accused for supply of additional trucks.
The counsel also argued Rishi has been cooperating with investigating agencies for the past six months and has not been arrested so far, and accordingly, cannot be restrained from travelling abroad.
The bench, however, was not convinced with the arguments and directed Rishi to appear before the concerned trial court and seek appropriate relief.
Appearing for the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra opposed Rishi’s plea for permission to visit UK purportedly for treatment of his various medical ailment, saying he may not return.
The apex court had on 22 August brushed aside Rishi’s plea for expeditious hearing of the matter as, he said, he needed urgent medical attention abroad. The court, however, had asked as to why the NRI cannot be examined by Indian doctors.
57-year-old Rishi’s counsel had earlier told the court that he is suffering from “cirrhosis of the liver with portal hypertension” and other ailments and that being a British national and undergoing treatment there earlier it was must for him to continue the treatment in England.
The CBI had earlier told the court that Rishi’s role in the deal and conduct during the investigation does not inspire confidence and his plea to travel abroad was only an “attempt to evoke the sympathy of this court”.
The CBI had placed before the bench various medical reports, including sonography, to state “there is no danger” to Rishi’s health.
The Vectra chief has been quizzed several times at the CBI headquarters here for the alleged irregularities in the Tatra truck deal as he has a substantial stake in Tatra Sipox UK.
The CBI has registered a case naming Rishi and unnamed officials of Defence Ministry, Army and BEML on 30 March for alleged criminal conspiracy, cheating and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency is probing alleged irregularities in transferring the task of supplying trucks from the then Czechoslovakia-based Tatra, with which the original agreement had been signed in 1986, to Tatra-Sipox UK owned by Rishi in 1997 showing it as the original equipment manufacturer and fully-owned subsidiary of the Czech company.