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Lilavati Trust loot case: Gujarat HC issues notice to state, Banaskantha SP

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  • Trustee and petitioner Prashant Mehta had approached the court seeking transfer of investigation in Lilavati Trust loot case to a central agency

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the state government, Banaskantha superintendent of police and others in connection with a petition filed by a trustee of Lilavati Hospital seeking transfer of investigation in the Rs 45 crore Lilavati Trust loot case to another agency.

Prashant Mehta, the de facto trustee of Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust, had filed a special criminal application in the HC seeking transfer of investigation in the case to a central investigating agency.

The petition accused Banaskantha SP, Palanpur LCB PI and Palanpur (East) PI of being hand-in-glove with unlawful trustees of Lilavati Trust and other accused in the loot case. It also questioned the police’s inclination and ability to conduct a fair and impartial investigation in the case. The petition also named the Gujarat government and the Home secretary as respondents.

On Thursday, Justice Hemant Prachchhak admitted the petition and issued notices to the respondents and fixed the next hearing for November 25.

As per case details, ‘unlawful trustees’ of Lilavati Trust had allegedly carried out the loot of goods worth Rs 45 crore, including diamonds, jewellery, silverware, fancy diamonds and other items from the collection of Maharaja of Baroda from a safe vault in the basement of Mani Bhavan which houses the Lilavati Hospital in Palanpur.

Mehta filed the petition on November 2 after the Banaskantha police registered a report branding the loot as a dispute between family members and noted that no case for filing an FIR was made out. That report was filed after Banaskantha’s chief judicial magistrate directed the police to investigate the complaint.

Subsequently, on October 27, Palanpur’s second judicial magistrate first class ordered the Palanpur City East Police Station to register an FIR based on Mehta’s complaint. An FIR was registered by the police on October 30.

“The police reluctantly filed an FIR only after the court passed an order. Moreover, contrary to all the evidence available, the police has already opined that the loot case is a civil dispute. I believe that the same agency would not be in a position to conduct a fair and neutral investigation into the FIR, and hence I was left with no choice but to approach Gujarat High Court seeking transfer to any independent agency such as the CBI. I have full faith in the judiciary,” he added.

 

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