Court allows SREI Group’s Kanoria to travel to US on Rs.100 crore bank guarantee
The Delhi High Court on Monday permitted Anant Raj Kanoria, the son of one of the promoters of SREI Infrastructure against whom a Look Out Circular has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate, to travel to the US for medical treatment on the condition that he will have to deposit a bank guarantee of Rs.100 crore with the court. The High Court also said he shall furnish two sureties of Rs.100 crore each of persons living in India, permitting Kanoria to travel to Boston to be treated for epilepsy from September 6 to 18.
“At this juncture, while considering the present application for permitting the petitioner (Kanoria) to go abroad, this court does not want to make any observations on the merits of the case as it can prejudice both the parties. The petitioner has not been named in the FIR or in ECIR nor has any complaint registered against him,” Justice Subramonium Prasad said. The High Court noted the material on record indicated that the petitioner has been called for investigation on eight dates and he has appeared before the Enforcement Directorate on all the dates.
“Considering the fact that the petitioner wants to go abroad for the purpose of his medical treatment and material on record does suggest that the petitioner is a patient of epilepsy and is being treated by a doctor in Boston, USA since 2010, this court is inclined to permit the petitioner to go to Boston, USA only for the purpose of medical treatment from September 6 to 18…,” said the HC Order.
The court noted the material on record showed SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd (SIFL) and SREI Equipment Finance Ltd (SEFL), which are Kanoria group’s non-banking finance companies registered in Kolkata, are engaged in the business of financing infrastructure and equipment. According to the prosecution, an FIR was registered in Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur in 2021 against the members of the Kanoria family, who were running these two companies, for the alleged offences of cheating, forgery using forged documents as genuine, criminal intimidation, and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.
It was stated that the petitioner was the son of Sunil Kanoria, one of the promoters and directors of the Kanoria Group. The petitioner was one of the beneficiaries of the Kanoria Foundation which is the promoting entity of SIFL and SEFL through another company called Adisri Commercial Private Ltd. The prosecution has charged SIFL and the SEFL defaulted on the repayment of dues to their creditors following which insolvency proceedings have been initiated against them. The total claim comes to over Rs.32,000 crore and more than Rs.10,000 crore has been reported as fraudulent transactions, it alleged.
Enforcement Directorate argued that the treatment of the medical condition for which the petitioner was going to the US is easily available in India. The ED’s counsel said the petitioner has assets across the world and, if he is permitted to go abroad, he could tamper with the proceeds of crime. They said his wife is in the US and there is a possibility that he might not return to India.
Kanoria’s advocates submitted he was a patient of epilepsy and had been treated by a doctor in Boston since 2010, and that he has been advised to get an electroencephalogram (EEG) test done there. The High Court said, “The petitioner shall furnish a bank guarantee of Rs.100 crores to the satisfaction of the registrar general of this court with two sureties in the like amount of persons who are living in India.” He shall remain in Boston throughout his period of stay abroad and will not travel outside Boston, the court directed. It also asked Kanoria to provide the number of the phone he will use during his stay abroad, adding the phone shall be operational at all times.
“The petitioner shall not travel to any other country other than the USA. The Petitioner shall give his complete itinerary indicating the places where he will stay in Boston, USA to the registrar general of this court,” the high court said, adding he shall come back to India on or before September 19 and report to the registrar within 24 hours of his return.
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