HC refuses to give protection to Sukesh Gupta from ED arrest

Businessman duped a firm offering to ‘sell’ King Kothi palace

Businessman Sukesh Gupta and two others on Thursday withdrew the writ petitions they had filed in Telangana High Court seeking protection from arrest by Enforcement Directorate authorities.

They withdrew the petitions after a bench of Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao declined to pass interim directions protecting them from arrest by the ED. Additional Solicitor General Suryakaran Reddy, appearing for ED, told the bench that Mumbai police issued a First Information Report (FIR) against Sukesh Gupta and others following a complaint lodged by Mumbai-based Neeharika Infrastructure company.

Based on the content of the FIR, the ED registered a case. Sukesh Gupta and others were accused of duping Neeharika company and another J&K-based company known as Iris Hospitality by selling them King Kothi Palace belonging to Nizam era for a consideration of ₹ 48 crore. They were charged with using fabricated documents and back-dated sale deeds, ED counsel Anjali Agarwal said. Supreme Court senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi representing Sukesh Gupta said that the ED filed a case in Hyderabad based on a case registered by the police in Mumbai.

Referring to the allegations of sale of the palace, the senior counsel contended that it was a dispute between two private parties. ED authorities’ probe was not required in the matter since there was no loss of public money. However, the bench led by the Chief Justice Hima Kohli declined to issue any order protecting the businessman from arrest by the ED. The Additional Solicitor General told the bench that ED would transfer the case to Mumbai unit.

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